Read the full article by Sonya Lunder, Mariana Del Valle Prieto Cervantes, and Jennifer Rawlison (The Hill)

“In his Sept. 18 op-ed, Mario H. Lopez of the Hispanic Leadership Fund misinformed readers about a Superfund listing for two notorious PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, and mischaracterized the Sierra Club’s stance on PFAS disposal in the process. His claims could not be further from the truth.

Impacted community members and advocates — including the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, the Sierra Club, and GreenLatinos — repeatedly have voiced concerns about the slow and incomplete nature of the federal government’s response. But we all support cleaning it up. Research shows PFAS exposure causes serious health damages, including cancer, pregnancy complications, organ damage and immune system suppression. These highly toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are detected in 97 percent of the general population and can cause harm at even trace levels. 

PFAS are found in the drinking water of millions of Americans, and the pollution crisis is growing daily as the chemicals seep out of industrial sites and landfills into water. These exposures may disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and other communities of color, with an estimated 1.6 million people of color living within five miles of a PFAS-contaminated site. Another study published by The Guardian reports that counties where Latinx communities make up 25 percent or more of the population have twice as many violations of drinking water quality rules than the rest of the country. 

Ignoring PFAS pollution is not an option. While there’s no easy way to safely destroy PFAS chemicals once they are produced, we must contain the waste and search for effective and scalable destruction technology. PFAS chemicals resist breakdown in hazardous waste incinerators and aren’t contained in landfills. Mr. Lopez fails to mention that designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances will unlock Superfund laws, allowing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recover clean-up costs from the billion-dollar corporations that likely knew these chemicals were toxic decades ago. Author Jennifer Rawlison lives in Newburgh, N.Y., where a Superfund listing has led to accelerated site assessment and clean-up.” …