House votes to empower EPA to clean up PFAS “forever chemicals”

Media Contacts

PFAS Action Act would reduce toxic pollution

U.S. PIRG & Environment America

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the bipartisan PFAS Action Act, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). The bill would designate two types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program, and set a five-year deadline to decide whether to reclassify other PFAS as well. The bill also directs EPA to limit PFAS discharges to waterways and places a moratorium on new PFAS chemicals.

PFAS are used broadly in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to food packaging and rain gear. When these products are produced, used, or thrown away, they can pollute the environment and threaten our health. PFAS have been linked to kidney and liver problems, birth defects and cancer. They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they take a long time to break down. Without adequate cleanup, they build up in the environment.

In response, Danielle Melgar, U.S. PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics advocate, and John Rumpler, Environment America’s Clean Water Program senior director, released the following statements:

“PFAS pollution has gotten completely out of hand. Nearly all Americans have PFAS in our bodies, and earlier this year, researchers found PFAS in breast milk. It is time to get this stuff cleaned up to give our children, and our children’s children, a chance at a healthier life,” said Melgar. “I applaud the bipartisan teamwork of Reps. Upton and Dingell, and their colleagues who are moving this bill forward. Protecting Americans from toxic chemicals clearly transcends party lines.” 

“The PFAS Action Act provides critical tools to stop the poisoning of our water,” said Rumpler. “Kudos to the House of Representatives for taking this step forward to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and taps from these toxic forever chemicals. We urge the Senate to adopt this bipartisan bill without delay.”