WASHINGTON – Members of Congress and officials in the Biden administration explained at a conference this week how they are trying to regulate toxic chemicals in drinking water – including an upcoming vote in the House of States -United.
EPA administrator Michael Regan, a former senior environmental official in North Carolina, said the agency is currently in the process of regulating two of the most studied types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. , in drinking water.
Two Michigan Democrats, U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee, added that House Democratic leaders will bring the PFAS Action Law of 2021, which aims to reduce Americans’ exposure to toxic chemicals in the air, water and consumer products, to a floor vote next week.
âWe recognize that PFAS is an urgent health challenge,â said Regan. âWe are committed to working with all stakeholders to protect the health and safety of all of our communities. “
Exposure to PFAS has been linked to various health problems such as high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and testicular and kidney cancer. Chemicals do not break down or build up in people’s bodies.
Dingell, who heads the bipartisan PFAS Action Act, along with Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, expressed frustration with the lack of federal standards set for chemicals in drinking water, as well as cleaning standards.
His bill would designate two types of PFAS – perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS – as hazardous substances, which would kickstart federal cleaning standards, particularly on bases. military.
The Department of Defense has been reluctant to undertake the cleanup of PFAS found on military installations, even though states adopt their own PFAS standards, as the Department is not required to follow state law.
“We have a real national crisis, and other states are seeing similar contaminations,” she said. âWhen you’re dealing with eternal chemicals, it’s only a matter of time. “
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization specializing in research and advocacy work around agriculture, pollutants and corporate responsibility, found PFAS at 703 military sites in the United States and estimates that more than 200 million Americans drink water contaminated with chemicals.
The EWG also hosted Wednesday’s conference.
Dingell added that chemicals regulation shouldn’t stop at the EPA and that she is working with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) To introduce a bill that would direct the Food and Drug Administration to ‘ban chemicals in cosmetics. A study published in June found high levels of PFAS in foundations, mascaras and lip products.
Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the bipartisan PFAS working group with Kildee, said another important factor in Congress’ work on PFAS regulation is to hold companies that contribute to PFAS pollution accountable.
Chemical companies such as DuPont, Chemours, Dow Chemical, and 3M, along with others, have used PFAS to make non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, Scotchgard, and other consumer products.
âThose manufacturers who make tens of billions of dollars selling this chemical should be the ones paying for the cleanup. It shouldn’t be borne by the taxpayer, nobody else, âFitzpatrick said.
Kildee added that he hopes more Republicans will join the vote for the PFAS Action Act. In 2020, the House voted on a similar bill that passed 247-159, with 24 Republicans joining Democrats.
Representative Chris Pappas (DN.H.) also stressed the need for his The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act is to be included in the final passage of the next transport bill.
The law would seek to prevent companies and manufacturers from dumping PFAS into water sources by requiring the EPA to develop a water quality criterion for PFAS under the Clean Water Act in a two-year deadline, while developing “guidelines and standards on PFAS limitations within four years.”
âWe need to pass the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act to ensure our communities have access to clean and safe drinking water,â Pappas said.
“The House passed this law as part of our infrastructure program, and we call on the Senate to include this law in its bill as well so that we can make it happen,” Pappas said. âIt’s time to hold polluters to account and take a big step towards clean, safe drinking water, which is one of our government’s most fundamental guarantees.
There are currently no EPA regulations that prevent manufacturers and companies from releasing PFAS into the environment. The bill would also identify nine industries for which the EPA must set standards.
These industries include: organic chemicals, plastics and man-made fibers; pulp, paper and cardboard; textile factories; electroplating; metal finishing; tanning and finishing of leather; paint formulation; electrical and electrical components; and molding and forming of plastics.