WASHINGTON – EWG today applauded the House for voting to pass H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act.
The vote passed the House by a 247 to 159 margin, with 24 Republicans voting for the bill.
H.R. 535 will immediately designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances, which will kickstart the clean-up process at contaminated sites. H.R. 535 will also set a two-year deadline for EPA to establish a drinking water standard, and set deadlines for EPA to finally restrict PFAS releases into the air and water.
“Today the House overwhelmingly voted to reduce ongoing PFAS releases, reduce PFAS in tap water, and clean up legacy PFAS pollution,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “If EPA will not do its job, it’s up to Congress to do its job.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has a long history of failing to act to protect Americans from the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS, which are linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases.
In 1998, EPA officials were first notified by 3M that PFAS were toxic. In 2001, the agency received internal company studies documenting PFAS’ health risks, and two years later received more animal studies.
It was not until 2009 that the EPA issued its first PFAS Action Plan and established a non-enforceable provisional health advisory for PFOA and its close chemical cousin PFOS – more than a decade after 3M shared studies showing PFAS chemicals were toxic.
A second PFAS Action Plan, issued in 2019 – more than two decades after EPA was first alerted to the risks – contains many of the same recommendations and includes no deadlines for EPA action.
“Ironically, this week the EPA issued a statement touting the agency’s ‘aggressive’ efforts to address PFAS pollution,” said Faber. “EPA’s failure to protect us from PFAS has become legendary. Enough is enough.”
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 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.