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Rouda, Kildee Request Documents on EPA’s Progress on Protecting Americans Against Harmful PFAS Chemicals

Nov 21, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 21, 2019)—Today, Rep. Harley Rouda, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, and Rep. Dan Kildee, Co-Chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler seeking information and documents concerning the progress being made by EPA in protecting public health from the serious harms caused by exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and GenX.

“Over the past several months, the Subcommittee has been investigating the exposure of Americans to these highly toxic chemicals,” Rouda and Kildee wrote.  “The investigation revealed that major chemical companies knew for decades that these dangerous chemicals were linked to serious health risks.  Today, millions of Americans across the country are exposed to these ‘forever chemicals,’ often by living in and around military sites and industrial sites, since these chemicals have been used in military firefighting foam and common household items such as non-stick cookware.”

On February 14, 2019, EPA issued its “PFAS Action Plan,” a series of short- and long-term actions to “reduce the risks associated with PFAS in the environment.”  

On March 6, 2019, at the Subcommittee’s first of four hearings on the effects of toxic PFAS chemicals, David Ross, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, agreed that the potentially widespread contamination of Americans’ groundwater and drinking water by these chemicals constitutes a “national emergency.”  

On November 7, 2019, EPA issued a press release in which the agency restated its commitment to releasing a proposed regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS by the end of this year, but gave no indication of the substance of the determination.  The recent press release also failed to identify a timeframe for an EPA determination regarding other PFAS chemicals

On September 10, 2019, at the Subcommittee on Environment’s third PFAS hearing, Denise Rutherford, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for 3M, acknowledged 3M’s membership in the lobbying organization called the Responsible Science Policy Coalition.  This organization, which has met with congressional offices and EPA officials, has misleadingly stated that “the weight of current scientific evidence does not show that PFOS or PFOA cause adverse health effects in humans at current levels of exposure.”  

Ms. Rutherford also acknowledged meetings between 3M and EPA officials, stating that 3M “ha[s] engaged with them, [and] the EPA has been able to develop processes that set appropriate regulations and nationwide science based standards for us over many years.”

The Subcommittee requests documents, including a complete list of all public and private stakeholders, including industry representatives and lobbyists representing industry interests, with whom Administrator Wheeler and/or David Ross have consulted with regarding EPA’s regulatory determination for PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS chemicals, by December 9, 2019.

Click here to read today’s letter to Administrator Wheeler.

116th Congress