U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) recently introduced legislation that aims to protect all Americans and our environment from harmful forever chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The package establishes a national drinking water standard for select PFAS chemicals, designates as hazardous to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated sites across the country, as well as list under the Clean Water Act, limits industrial discharges, and provides $200 million annually to assist water utilities and wastewater treatment.
“PFAS contamination represents a clear and present danger to Michigan families,” said Upton. “And, as Parchment made crystal clear, we need an all-hands-on-deck effort to protect both human health and our environment. This bipartisan legislation will ensure we’re treating PFAS as a hazardous chemical and giving our agencies the resources to clean up sites for the betterment of our communities.”
“Let’s be very clear, PFAS is an urgent public health and environmental threat. And the number of contamination sites nationwide is growing at an alarming rate, including our military bases,” said Rep. Dingell. “The PFAS Action Act is a sweeping and comprehensive legislative package which has strong bipartisan support to address the PFAS crisis in the United States. It’s time that these chemicals are properly addressed to protect the American people from the hazardous substances we know these forever chemicals are. Setting drinking water standards and designating PFAS as hazardous substances under the EPA’s Superfund program will accelerate the clean-up process in communities and at military facilities all across this nation.
The PFAS Action Act would do the following to protect the country’s air, land, and water from harmful PFAS contamination:
- Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS within two years that protects public health, including the health of vulnerable subpopulations.
- Designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous substances within one year and require EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.
- Designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants within 180 days and requires EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.
- Require EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS and provide $200 million annually for wastewater treatment.
- Prohibit unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes and place a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce.
- Require comprehensive PFAS health testing.
- Create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.