Read the full article by Elizabeth Warren (Seacoast Online)
“Communities throughout New Hampshire have suffered enough from contamination from Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS. These contaminants, found in everyday products from cookware to clothing, can infiltrate water sources and pose serious health risks to families, as we’ve seen at the Pease International Tradeport and the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site here on the Seacoast, and the Saint Gobain plastics factory in Merrimack. PFAS are often prevalent around military bases, chemical plants and firefighting facilities — putting military families, firefighters, and ordinary citizens at risk for health complications like cancer, thyroid disease, and even birth defects. And states and local communities with already tight budgets face a bill of millions of dollars to clean up the contamination.
This is not only a problem in New Hampshire, or even in New England — but a national one. There are more than 600 sites, including 400 military installations, across 43 states known to have water contaminated by PFAS. The Department of Defense tested all of the drinking water systems it owns and found 24 of them contained PFAS concentrations above Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) levels. But the LHA is just that – an advisory. It’s not legally binding, so it has no teeth…
Families in New Hampshire and across the country can’t wait any longer for effective, meaningful steps to clean up existing contamination, prevent the next ones from occurring, and ensure that manufacturers and other polluters are held accountable. It’s time to break the cycle of contamination, and for our regulators to step up and address this problem at the national level.
That’s why I’ve been working with Senator Shaheen, Senator Hassan, and across the aisle to urge the EPA to declare a federal maximum contaminant level and nationwide safe drinking water standards for PFAS. Doing so will allow New Hampshire and other states to enforce a clear and reasonable nationwide standard for the acceptable levels of these substances in their drinking water.
I’ve been fighting to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance under our environmental protection laws, so that New Hampshire can get help cleaning up contaminated sites – and so that those responsible for the contamination have to pay for that cleanup.
Senator Shaheen and I were also able to get the first nationwide study of the adverse health effects of PFAS in drinking water. And I’ve urged the CDC to study the health effects of long-term PFAS exposure on military and civilian firefighters. Now we’re working together to prohibit the military from using firefighting foam with harmful levels of PFAS – so we can get them out of the business of using these toxic chemicals on their bases.
It’s time to act. No more delays, no more excuses.
Unfortunately, President Donald Trump has appointed top EPA officials with staggering conflicts of interest – allowing them to use their official position to affect PFAS policies despite formerly representing the interests of corporate polluters. That’s corruption, pure and simple.
As President, my EPA will be guided by science, not campaign contributions from big industry. I will take quick, decisive action to end PFAS use on military bases in our communities, enforce strong and effective drinking water standards, and get veterans, servicemembers, and their families the care they need. That’s the kind of effective and accountable government that people in New Hampshire and across America deserve – and I’ll keep fighting to make it happen.
Democrat Elizabeth Warren is the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and a candidate for president of the United States.“