EWG applauds House for advancing bill to limit PFAS discharges into water

 

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group today applauds the House for advancing bipartisan legislation to limit industrial discharges of the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS into drinking water.

The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), would set deadlines for the Environmental Protection Agency to issue standards that polluters must meet before discharging PFAS waste into surface water or sending wastewater containing the chemicals to waste treatment plants.

The measure has bipartisan support and was added as an amendment to H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, which is a $715 million water and transportation infrastructure bill. Reps. Brian Fitzgerald (R-Pa.) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) co-sponsored the amendment.

The underlying bill would also set a two-year deadline for the EPA to issue a final PFAS drinking water limit for water utilities, and would provide funding to upgrade water infrastructure to meet the new standard.

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.

Although PFAS have been detected in the drinking water of more than 2,300 communities, thousands of manufacturers can still legally discharge them into the water in the absence of any EPA standards.

The agency is currently considering the steps needed to address pollution from PFAS manufacturers. The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act would require the EPA to quickly set standards for nine industry categories, including textile mills and plastics molding.

Chemical, electroplating and paper companies, tanneries, and rugmakers are among the other likely industrial sources of PFAS discharges.

“To address the PFAS contamination crisis, we need to turn off the tap of PFAS pollution,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh. “We applaud Rep. Pappas for leading efforts to address ongoing industrial discharges.”

“The EPA needs to move faster to set limits for all of the industry categories that make the PFAS pollution problem even worse,” Benesh said.

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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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Tap Water Database

Since 2012, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 32 million state water records.

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