EWG applauds updated bill limiting ‘forever chemicals’ discharges into water

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group today applauds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) for leading fresh legislative efforts to limit discharges of the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS into drinking water supplies.

The lawmakers today announced that they will introduce an updated version of their Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act. The new version would speed up and make mandatory the Environmental Protection Agency’s non-binding deadlines in its “PFAS Strategic Roadmap” for issuing standards polluters must meet before they discharge PFAS waste into surface water or send PFAS wastewater to treatment plants.

Industrial sources of PFAS pollution that would be covered by the bill include chemical manufacturers, electroplaters, metal finishers, textile mills, electronics manufacturers, landfills, leather tanners, plastics molders and paint formulators.

“Turning off the tap on industrial polluters of PFAS is one of the single most effective steps the EPA can take,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh.

PFAS are a large family of fluorinated chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, immune system damage and other serious health problems.

PFAS contaminate the drinking water of an estimated 200-plus million people, but most polluters are still discharging them into water without limits written into their permits. EWG estimates nearly 30,000 facilities could be discharging PFAS.

The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act would require the EPA to quickly set standards for nine industry categories and require monitoring for at least two others. The agency has pledged only to propose limits for chemical manufacturers by summer 2023 and for electroplaters and metal finishers by summer 2024. The EPA has not set any deadlines for final actions.

“The EPA needs to move faster to set limits for all the industry categories that make the PFAS pollution problem even bigger,” Benesh 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. Visit www.ewg.org for more information.

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