May 15, 2019

U.S. House Hearing Sets the Stage for Progress on PFAS

Statement by Genna Reed, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2019)—Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a widely-used family of chemicals that contaminate the drinking water of millions of Americans. Representatives also introduced a number of bills to manage the threat of PFAS pollution, including legislation that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate PFAS as hazardous chemicals, as well as bills to expand water testing, improve water infrastructure, assist communities facing PFAS contamination issues and limit the use of these chemicals in the future. This effort to tackle a common and dangerous class of pollutant is long overdue, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Genna Reed, lead science and policy analyst for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“For decades, too many people—especially those living around current and former military facilities or industrial sites—have been exposed to PFAS chemicals that can threaten their health. Thanks to federal inaction and an active disinformation campaign by the chemical industry, PFAS is one of the most common pollutants in our water. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has offered only tentative and insufficient answers to this national problem, and hasn’t put any enforceable limits in place. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to take action.

“It’s encouraging to see members of the U.S. House looking out for their constituents and introducing legislation that will rein in PFAS contamination. This is an issue that deserves more attention and bipartisan support.

“Scientists, parents and health advocates from across the country are visiting the Hill today to ask their members of Congress to take this threat seriously. Representatives and Senators should listen to their constituents and take action. We must pass legislation to limit the use of PFAS, aid cleanup efforts and protect families from this widespread risk to their health. We owe it to vulnerable communities—especially the military families who bear the biggest burdens of PFAS exposure.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.