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EWG applauds bill to regulate PFAS discharges into water

  • EWG applauds bill to regulate PFAS discharges into water

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EWG has applauded Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H) and Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) for introducing legislation to regulate discharges of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS into rivers, lakes and bays.

Under current law, polluters can discharge as much PFAS into drinking water supplies as they wish, or send their PFAS waste through the pipes to a public water treatment plant.

Under the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, the Environmental Protection Agency would be required to develop limits on industrial discharges of PFAS, and to require polluters to obtain permits before spewing PFAS into drinking waters supplies. The bill would also require manufacturers to pretreat their PFAS pollution before sending it to water treatment plants.

“It’s crazy that polluters can dump toxic PFAS into water, with no restrictions,” said EWG Legislative Director Colin O’Neil. “Why would we allow polluters to make the PFAS problem even worse at the same time we’re finally trying to clean it up?"

At least 475 industrial facilities across the nation could be discharging the toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS into the air and water, according to a recent EWG analysis of government data.  

More than 100 million Americans may be drinking tap water contaminated with PFAS, which has been linked to cancer and harm to the reproductive and immune systems.

The Senate version of a must-pass defense bill would phase out military use of firefighting foam made with PFAS, require reporting of some PFAS discharges, and expand PFAS monitoring. The House will consider similar amendments to its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020. But neither bill would require the EPA to restrict PFAS discharges into water.

“Congress should not wait to address ongoing sources of PFAS contamination, including unregulated PFAS discharges into drinking water supplies,” O’Neil said. 

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