PFAS Reform Provisions Included in Defense Spending Bill

WASHINGTON – More than a dozen reforms to reduce and remediate pollution from the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS were included in the annual Department of Defense spending bill that passed the House today.

PFAS pollution has been detected at more than 300 military installations, but the Defense Department has been slow to clean up legacy pollution or reduce ongoing PFAS exposures.

In the bill passed today, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 would:

  • Require the Pentagon to phase out the nonessential use of PFAS in everyday products like cookware, sunscreens, personal care products, floor and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and food packaging.
  • Require the Pentagon to meet state PFAS cleanup standards when those standards exceed federal standards.
  • Place a moratorium on the incineration of PFAS by the Defense Department until safe disposal regulations are finalized by the Pentagon and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Require the Pentagon to notify farmers when PFAS that originates on a military installation contaminates nearby groundwater.
  • Require the Pentagon to publish the results of drinking and groundwater testing for PFAS conducted on military installations or former defense sites.
  • Expand blood testing to any active duty service members who want to have their blood tested for PFAS.
  • Provide $150 million for research on the development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies as well as PFAS-based firefighting foam replacements.
  • Provide nearly $200 million in additional funding for PFAS remediation at active and former military installations, including National Guard facilities.
  • Require federal experts to conduct a study on the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting equipment and the risk posed to firefighters, and expand a study of PFAS contamination in eight communities.
  • Clarify that manufacturers using PFAS must disclose all discharges of the chemicals of more than 100 pounds.

PFAS-related provisions were championed by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Madeline Dean (D-Penn.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Anne Kuster (D-N.H.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.), Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.N.Y.).

“Thanks to bipartisan efforts, Congress remains as determined as ever to help combat the ballooning PFAS contamination crisis that is impacting military bases and nearby communities throughout the country,” said Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs. “EWG applauds Armed Services Committee Chairman Smith and a large bipartisan group of House members for keeping the pressure on the Pentagon to address the toxic PFAS contamination crisis.”

In January, the House passed H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, which designates PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances, sets a two-year deadline for a national PFAS drinking water standard, and directs the EPA to restrict industrial PFAS emissions into the air and water.

“Although the NDAA contains many PFAS reforms, we’re disappointed that House leaders were unable to include other critical reforms that will do even more to kick-start the cleanup process, restrict industrial discharges and hold polluters accountable,” Faber said.


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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