Maryland PIRG Launches Campaign to Clean Up Toxic “Forever Chemicals”

Media Contacts
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Environment has found toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” in much of Maryland’s drinking water. Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG) launched a campaign on Monday calling on Governor Hogan to test for and clean up any PFAS contamination.

In April, Gov. Hogan signed the George “Walter” Taylor Act into law, highlighting the new law as one of his top legislative priorities. The bipartisan bill restricts the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging, rugs and carpets, and replaces PFAS-laden firefighting foam with safer alternatives. The law is named for George “Walter” Taylor, a firefighter for 31 years who died from occupational health cancers linked to PFAS exposure.

PFAS are often called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down and build up in our bodies and the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to PFAS chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects including cancer, thyroid disruption and reduced vaccine response.

“We are counting on Gov. Hogan to clean up the toxic “forever chemicals” that are polluting our water,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “PFAS contamination is impacting families across the state, and we need all hands on deck to protect our children and grandchildren.”

Maryland PIRG is launching their campaign with a community canvass, knocking on 10,000 doors throughout the state. The group is calling on Gov. Hogan to establish strict limits for PFAS in drinking water and to hold polluting industries accountable for the environmental and public health damage they have caused.

Maryland has no enforceable limit for PFAS contamination nor mandatory testing for PFAS in water. Unless the State holds the polluting industries accountable for the environmental and public health damage the chemical industry has caused, advocates warn that Marylanders will be left to foot the bill for PFAS cleanup and public health costs.


PIRG Canvassers
staff | TPIN
Maryland PIRG canvassers head to work in Montgomery County.