Statement: House passes suite of clean water safeguards on “forever chemicals”

Media Contacts
Bart Johnsen-Harris

Josh Chetwynd

Legislation includes key policies to keep toxic PFAS out of drinking water

Environment America

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House approved a bipartisan measure today to protect America’s water and air from toxic “forever chemicals” best known by the acronym PFAS. The PFAS Action Act (H.R. 535) passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 247–159.

Environment America has long advocated for stronger protections on PFAS as part of its No Toxics On Tap campaign. The national nonpartisan organization successfully worked with Congress last year to phase out the military’s use of these chemicals in firefighting foams under the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. While that phaseout was a significant step, the PFAS Action Act takes further action to curtail continuing sources of pollution to water and air as well as establish new provisions to clean up existing contamination.

Bart Johnsen-Harris, Director of Federal Government Affairs for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“The PFAS Action Act is good policy that will move us in the right direction when it comes to protecting our environment and our communities. We applaud legislators for working together on a bipartisan basis to pass these much-needed safeguards.

“While far from a ban on the entire class of toxic PFAS chemicals, the bill includes an impressive array of measures to help clean up existing contamination and reduce the risks of future PFAS pollution. H.R. 535 would direct EPA to protect our water and air from PFAS pollution and to establish a clear limit on PFAS in drinking water. It would also kickstart cleanup under the Superfund program, require data before introducing new commercial PFAS chemicals, and expand data collection on the presence of these chemicals in environmental and consumer products.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of all those who have been involved in advancing this important legislation, especially the tireless work of the bill sponsor, Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan. It is crucial that lawmakers continue collaborating to ensure that these provisions become law as soon as possible.”