Read the full article by Paula Gardner

“Federal attention to PFAS will get a boost on Wednesday when a subcommittee in the House of Representatives convenes a hearing on 13 pending bills from legislators around the U.S.

The hearing is entitled, ‘Protecting Americans at Risk of PFAS Contamination & Exposure.’ It was called by Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and it goes before the subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change.

Michigan’s role in the hearing will come in part by two of the witnesses: Brian Steglitz, who runs the Ann Arbor water treatment system, and Dr. Jamie DeWitt, an associate professor and toxicologist who is serving on the state’s new Science Advisory Workgroupthat is exploring health-based drinking water standards.

‘This week’s hearing will be an important step by Congress to respond to the dangers and help begin the cleaning up process at contaminated sites,’ said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Dearborn.

The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Rayburn Office Building in Washington, D.C. Live video will be available.

The per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are tied to adverse health effects, including cancer, developmental delays and endocrine issues. They’ve been used in consumer products and industrial applications, and now can be found in the drinking water for millions of Americans – many of who are drinking levels that exceed unenforceable federal guidelines set in 2016.

Recent data from Environmental Working Group shows that PFAS has been found in 43 states. That includes about 200 contamination sites in Michigan, which launched statewide testing for the compounds in 2018 as concerns about the chemicals mounted.

PFAS, said Dingell, are ‘a growing nationwide threat.’

However, the hearing notice says that multiple federal steps that would increase scrutiny on the compounds – and better protect Americans – have not been taken.

Among them are responses by the Environmental Protection Agency, which did not provide requested documents to the committee in 2018 and which continues to research drinking water standards and PFAS disposal measures. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense continues to receive criticism from communities that host closed or active military installations where PFAS has contaminated drinking water and the environment. They include Oscoda and Grayling in Michigan…

Here is a list of the pending PFAS-related legislation in the House:

H.R. 535, the ‘PFAS Action Act of 2019,’ Reps. Dingell (D-MI) and Upton (R-MI) introduced H.R. 535, the ‘PFAS Action Act of 2019.’ The bill requires the EPA Administrator to designate, within one year, all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous substances under Superfund (CERCLA). This designation would ensure that PFAS contamination is cleaned up under Superfund authorities.

H.R. 2377, the “Protect Drinking Water from PFAS Act of 2019,” Reps. Boyle (D-PA) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2377, the “Protect Drinking Water from PFAS Act of 2019.” The bill requires EPA to set a drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to protect public health.

H.R. 2533, the ‘Providing Financial Assistance for Safe Drinking Water Act,’ Chairman Pallone (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 2533, the ‘Providing Financial Assistance for Safe (PFAS) Drinking Water Act.’ The bill requires the EPA Administrator to establish, within 180 days of enactment, a program to award grants to PFAS-affected water systems to pay the capital costs associated with installing treatment technologies that can remove all detectable amounts of PFAS from drinking water.

H.R. 2566, Rep. Soto (D-FL) introduced H.R. 2566. The bill requires EPA to establish a label under the Safer Choice program for cookware that is PFAS-free. The label would be available to cookware manufacturers on a voluntary basis to inform consumer choice.

H.R. 2570, the “PFAS User Fee Act of 2019,” Rep. Rouda (D-FL) introduced H.R. 2570, the “PFAS User Fee Act of 2019.” The bill establishes a trust fund, financed through user fees from PFAS manufacturers, to pay the ongoing operations and maintenance costs of water treatment works and drinking water treatment plants that remove contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

H.R. 2577, Rep. Delgado (D-NY) introduced H.R. 2577. The bill amends the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 to require reporting on releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances through the Toxics Release Inventory.

H.R. 2591, the ‘PFAS Waste Incineration Ban Act of 2019,’ Rep. Khanna (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2591, the ‘PFAS Waste Incineration Ban Act of 2019.’The bill amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to prohibit the incineration disposal of fire-fighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The bill also requires the EPA Administrator to, within 12 months, identify additional wastes containing PFAS for which a prohibition on incineration may be necessary to protect human health.

H.R. 2596, Rep. Kuster (D-NH) introduced H.R. 2596. The bill amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to prevent the introduction of any new PFAS into commerce.

H.R. 2600, the ‘Toxic PFAS Control Act,’ Rep. Dean (D-PA) introduced H.R. 2600, the ‘Toxic PFAS Control Act.’ The bill amends Section 6 of TSCA to comprehensively regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The bill would prohibit the manufacture of any new PFAS chemical substance within one year and existing PFAS within two years. It would also prohibit the processing of existing PFAS within three years; establish standards for the safe disposal of PFAS; require labeling of all articles containing PFAS; and limit exemptions available for PFAS.

H.R. 2605, Rep. Stevens (D-MI) introduced H.R. 2605. The bill requires the EPA Administrator to issue a final rule within 180 days listing PFAS as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act and requires the Administrator to identify source categories for PFAS within one year.

H.R. 2608, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R. 2608. The bill requires comprehensive health testing of all PFAS under the Toxic Substances Control Act and reporting from all manufacturers and processors of PFAS on health, safety, and environmental impacts.

H.R. 2626, Rep. Upton (R-MI) introduced H.R. 2626. The bill amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 to require cleanups at federal facilities to meet state limits for PFAS.

H.R. 2638, Rep. Fletcher (D-TX) introduced H.R. 2638. The bill requires to issue guidance for firefighters and other first responders to minimize the use of foam and other firefighting materials containing PFAS and to minimize their health risk from PFAS exposure.