Bipartisan Bills Would Require Coordinated Cleanup of PFAS Chemicals at Federal Facilities

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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, May 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced legislation today to improve cooperation between state regulators and federal agencies, including the Pentagon, to address PFAS contamination near government facilities and military installations.

The PFAS Accountability Act of 2019, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), would require the federal government to better coordinate with states in cleaning up fluorinated chemical contamination detected in communities near installations, such those owned and operated by the military. The legislation will facilitate testing, monitoring, removal and remediation when these chemicals are found in the water and soil.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) are co-sponsors of the Senate bill. 

A recent analysis by EWG of Defense Department data found that water samples on or near at least 117 military sites were contaminated with PFAS chemicals above the level that the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe. However, even that level is far above what some states and academic scientists have determined will protect people exposed to PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, weakened childhood immunity and other health effects.

“Our service members, their families and those who live near these facilities are often exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals at levels that far exceed what the Trump administration says is safe,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh. “It is absolutely critical that Congress pass this bill quickly so these Americans are no longer endangered by further exposure to these pollutants.”

EWG has called on the Trump administration and Congress to take a series of steps to protect the public from further exposure to PFAS chemicals, including:

  • Identify PFAS pollution sources.
  • Identify scope of PFAS contamination.
  • End new PFAS releases.
  • Set PFAS clean-up standards.

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