Statement: Bills to reduce toxic PFAS, protect public health advance

Media Contacts


BOSTON – The Massachusetts legislature’s Public Health Committee and the Public Safety Committee issued favorable reports on Wednesday on two bills to reduce the use of toxic PFAS chemicals. The following bills will now head to the Senate for further action:

– An Act restricting toxic PFAS chemicals in consumer productsto protect our health (S.1387) filed by Sen. Joanne Comerford bans toxic PFAS from consumer products, including carpets, rugs, textiles, aftermarket sprays, cookware and personal care products.     

-An Act Relative to the Reduction of Certain Toxic Chemicals in Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (H.2475/S.1576) filed by Sen. Diana Dizoglio and Rep. James Hawkins protects firefighters by eliminating PFAS in their turnout gear.

PFAS, which is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, refers to a vast range of more than 9,000 persistent substances that have been found in drinking water, groundwater, air, soil and human blood. Known as “forever chemicals,” these toxins never fully break down in the environment and may remain for thousands of years. Not only do these man-made substances impact our environment and wildlife, but they harm our health as well. Exposure to PFAS have been linked to increase in cancer, immunosuppression, birth defects, colitis and other diseases.

In response, MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to the chairs of the Public Health Committee Sen. Comerford and Rep. Decker, and the Public Safety Committee Sen. Timilty and Rep. Gonzalez, and all the committee members, for giving favorable reports to two bills calling for the elimination of PFAS. By eliminating “forever chemicals” in consumer products and firefighter turnout gear, these lawmakers are taking an important step to not only protect the health of key first responders but also broadly reduce the use and exposure of these dangerous chemicals that affect so many in our state.

“These bills are so necessary because PFAS is contaminating our drinking water. According to the Department of Environmental Protection,82 public water systems have already exceeded the state limit for PFAS, and PFAS have been detected in all 27 rivers tested in the state.  

“Given how long PFAS lasts and what we know about their harmful effects, we must stop using them. It’s simply not worth risking exposure to these chemicals. We know we will need to clean up the damage already done – but unless we turn off the tap,  the health and environmental risks will continue to compound.”