House passes comprehensive legislation to limit and contain PFAS chemicals found in wide range of consumer and industry products

January 10, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, comprehensive legislation that will regulate Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), clean up toxic contamination, and protect public health. While the Trump White House has rolled back a historic number of environmental regulations, including this week’s proposal to gut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this is one of many bills that the House has passed to proactively protect the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Despite knowing for years that these persistent ‘forever chemicals’ can be found across the country and are linked to life-threatening illnesses, the Trump administration has failed to act. We won’t sit on the sidelines while American families fall sick to preventable illnesses due to a lack of commonsense protections,” said Vice Chair Clark. “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in taking this proactive step to protect impacted communities and prevent the spread of PFAS contamination so that every American has access to clean water.”

PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals that have been linked with adverse health effects including cancer, immune system effects, infertility, and impaired child development. PFAS can accumulate and stay in the human body for long periods of time.

These toxic contaminations have been confirmed in the water of more than 1,400 communities across the United States, including nearly 300 military installations, one of which is Hanscom Air Force Base in the 5th District of Massachusetts.

The PFAS Action Act will:

  • Roll back PFAS contamination in the environment by requiring cleanup of sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals, setting air emission limits, prohibiting unsafe incineration of PFAS, and limiting the introduction of new PFAS chemicals in consumer and industry products;
  • Verify health risks by requiring comprehensive health testing for all PFAS chemicals, reporting of PFAS releases, and monitoring for PFAS in drinking water;
  • Limit human exposure to PFAS by instituting a drinking water standard for PFAS that protects public health, including the health of vulnerable groups like pregnant women, infants, and children.