Toxic, Forever Chemicals: A Call for Immediate Federal Action on PFAS

Date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 2:00pm
Location: 
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
“Toxic, Forever Chemicals: A Call for Immediate Federal Action on PFAS”

PURPOSE

This hearing will lay out the case for immediate and robust federal regulation of PFAS by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has delayed taking action under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Currently, thousands of drinking water supplies used by over 100 million Americans are contaminated, due to leaching from toxic waste sites and military use of firefighting foam.

BACKGROUND

  • There is an urgent need for federal action on PFAS chemicals. Currently, PFAS chemicals remain unregulated by the federal government and there are serious concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not strongly regulate them or commit to their cleanup. Additionally, although Department of Defense and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken some action to protect Americans’ from these dangerous chemicals, much more could be done.
     
  • Millions of Americans continue to be exposed to these dangerous “forever chemicals,” often by living on and around military installations and industrial sites, since PFAS have been used in firefighting foam and common household items such as non-stick cookware. Witness Mark Favors has stated that he “had 16 aunts, uncles, or cousins diagnosed with cancer who had all resided in the contaminated areas for at least 10 years, unknowingly using tap water contaminated with PFAS that was eventually found to have toxic levels exceeding the EPA’s unenforceable ‘safe’ limit.”
     
  • Over the past year, the Subcommittee has investigated the origins of the PFAS contamination crisis and the need for accountability.  The Subcommittee’s investigation has demonstrated the need for immediate federal action to address the crisis and revealed that major chemical companies knew for decades that PFAS chemicals were linked to serious health risks. 

WITNESSES

Mr. Scott Faber
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group

Mr. Mark Favors
U.S. Army Veteran, Member, Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition

Mr. Mark Ruffalo
Actor, Producer and Artist

Sherman Joyce (minority witness)
President
American Tort Reform Association

DOCUMENTS

116th Congress