House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer spoke recently on the House floor in support of the PFAS Action Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation addresses the urgent public health threat posed by toxic PFAS chemicals and passed the House by a 247-159 vote earlier in January.
The legislation responds to the urgent public health threat posed by per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. PFAS chemicals are toxic contaminants that never break down in the environment, and the exposure to them has been widely linked to causing cancer, infertility, thyroid disease, and other serious health problems. They are referred to as “forever chemicals” and have been found in communities across the country.
Communities across the country, particularly those with industrial sites and Department of Defense installations, have been exposed to PFAS pollution and are dealing with serious and costly public health challenges, Congressman Hoyer (D-MD) said.
“For decades, we have known that PFAS contamination is a problem,” Mr. Hoyer said. “According to the EPA, millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of PFAS through their drinking water.”The package of 12 bills was approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee on a bipartisan vote in November. Its provisions will, among others, establish a protective safe drinking water standard for PFAS contamination, improve testing of existing PFAS chemicals, limit the introduction of new ones, and provide for their safer disposal. Most importantly, it will begin the process of helping clean up PFAS-contaminated sites under the Superfund program, according to the congressman.
“The Defense Department, which for years has used firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals, has failed to clean up contaminated sites across the country that have contaminated the drinking water of countless Americans. Why is that? Because the EPA has failed to list these chemicals under the Superfund law,” Mr. Hoyer said.
For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.