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house Bill H.R. 2467

Should the EPA Designate PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Monitor Their Presence in Water Systems?

Argument in favor

This bill would address the threat posed by PFAS contamination in the air, soil, and water by establishing standards for their safe disposal. It would also require community water systems to monitor for the presence of PFAS, and establish grants for states & water systems to address the presence of PFAS.

jimK's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
PFA’s are known to be toxic in our air and water. This legislation initiates the studies of how much is too much, which types of PFA’s are the most hazardous and how to safely dispose of them. It further provides a foundation for the EPA to mandate measures and controls of levels/types found in water systems to prevent wide spread consumption for those PFA’s found to be hazardous - if the EPA administrator judges them to be so. The rational for a Nay vote is vacuous since this bill does not require the EPA to mandate controls/measures of PFA’s unless studies indicate that mandates are required. This is a good bill that studies potentially hazardous PFA chemical levels in drinking water and authorizes the EPA to act to initiate controls where and when they may be needed. It is the kind of study and potential actions needed to mitigate hazardous concentrations efficiently; And exemplifies the very kind of role that tha EPA was created for.
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larubia's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
“The research conducted to date reveals possible links between human exposures to PFAS and adverse health outcomes. These health effects include altered metabolism,3 fertility,4 reduced fetal growth and increased risk of being overweight or obese,5 and reduced ability of the immune system to fight infections.6” https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pfc/index.cfm
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davidf's Opinion
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last Wednesday
I live near a community where PFAS is a problem and has contaminated individual and community wells. To vote against this is stupid Addendum: As expected, and true to form, my House Representative voted against this resolution. Jim Hagedorn can be trusted to be a true sycophant.
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Argument opposed

While the federal government needs to help states that are disproportionately affected by PFAS contamination, more scientific research needs to be done to understand how the more than 5,000 chemicals classified as PFAS work before this bill’s aggressive mandates are imposed. More moderate steps should be taken in the interim.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
last Wednesday
While I am all for addressing the threat posed by PFAS contamination, it appears that this bill is premature due to insufficient completed research to justify such actions.
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Robert 's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Here we have another bill that automatically jumps into funding for ten years with no sure science agreement. How about making this bill for one year and order the FDA to study the problem and come up with recommendations as to how to do testing. Also they could recommend a way to protect the peoples by banning certain PFAS chemicals. I noticed that this requirement also included community water systems down to 25 people. Wonder what the cost of just the testing would be? If I was a community of any size I would announce effective in six months all community water systems will be cut off and the community needs to look at drilling wells or getting their water delivered to their house. We are out of the business of providing water.
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Larry's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
The EPA is a government agency with responsibility to study and monitor the environment and enforcement of environment laws. It is congress's responsibility to create laws. EPA has no legal authority to do this, and congress has no legal authority to reassign their lawmaking responsibility to EPA.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2467?

This bill — the PFAS Action Act of 2021 — would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to designate all perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund) within one year of this legislation’s enactment. The EPA would also be required to review all other PFAS chemicals over a five-year period and decide whether to list them under Superfund.

A narrow exemption from CERCLA liability is granted to the owners and operators of airports using PFAS firefighting foam pursuant to federal requirements for the use of such foam as long as all regulations for safe handling are followed.

Additionally, this bill would require comprehensive testing of hazards posed by PFAS exposure in land, air, and water (including drinking water), as well as in products within six months of enactment. A final rule would be issued within two years of enactment. PFAS have been used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s in uses such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics & carpets, cosmetics, firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.

This bill would also establish a five-year moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce while test data for existing PFAS is developed. It would also prohibit the introduction into commerce of PFAS chemicals under review-exemptions, such as the low volume exemption (LVE). This moratorium would have no effect on the sale or use of drugs or medical devices, as drugs and medical devices are exempt from all regulations under TSCA.

The EPA would be required to promulgate a drinking water standard for PFAS that protects vulnerable and disproportionately exposed subpopulations. At a minimum, the standard would cover PFOA and PFOS; it could cover additional PFAS at the EPA Administrator’s discretion. This bill would grant a five-year grace period during which water systems in violation of the PFAS drinking water standard would not be fined; after that point, they would be subject to financial penalties for noncompliance. To help water systems implement treatment changes to remove PFAS for their water, this bill would authorize $550 million over FY 2022-2026 for this purpose. 

The EPA administrator would identify variance technologies for public water systems serving a population of 10,000 or fewer but more than 3,300; a population of 3,300 or fewer but more than 500; and a population of 500 or fewer but more than 25. At least 25% of state loan funds would be set aside for small and disadvantaged communities, including public water systems serving fewer than 25,000 persons. At least 15% of state loan funds would be set aside for public water systems which regularly serve fewer than 10,000 people

The EPA administrator would be required to promulgate a rule adding PFOA and its salts and PFOS and its salts to the list of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act (CAA). This bill would also set a five-year deadline for the EPA to determine whether other PFAS should also be listed as hazardous air pollutants and a one-year deadline for the EPA to issue a rule identifying major source categories of PFAS under the CAA.

Within one year of this bill’s enactment, the EPA would publish an interim guidance on the destruction & disposal of PFAS, while the waste incineration of PFAS would be prohibited.

Additionally, the EPA would establish a labeling standard to identify pots, pans, cooking utensils, carpets, rugs, clothing, upholstered furniture, and stain-, water-, or grease-resistant coatings that don’t contain PFAS under the Safer Choice Program.

The EPA administration would be required to consult with the head of the U.S. Fire Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and other relevant Federal agencies to issue guidance for first responders to minimize their exposure to firefighting foam and other related equipment that may contain PFAS chemicals. “Covered first responders” may include firefighters, police officers, para- medics, emergency medical technicians, and others.

The EPA Administrator would be required to investigate methods and means to prevent contamination of surface waters, including source waters used for drinking water purposes, by a group of ten PFAS known as “GenX.”

This bill would prohibit owners or operators of industrial facilities that emit wastewater from including PFAS in their effluent without prior disclosure to the relevant water treatment. The industrial source’s owner or operator would be required to notify the owner or operator of the applicable treatment works of the identity of the PFAS, whether the PFAS are susceptible to treatment by the treatment works, and whether the PFAS would interfere with the treatment works’ operation.

The EPA Administrator would be required to establish a website with information relating to the testing of household well water, and to develop a risk-communication strategy to inform the public about the hazards of PFAS.

This legislation would make U.S. territories eligible for financial assistance designated for addressing emerging contaminants such as PFAS.

The EPA Administrator would be required to promulgate a rule establishing effluent limitations and pretreatment standards for the introduction or discharge of PFAS. To provide financial assistance to owners and operators of publicly owned treatment works to implement a PFAS pretreatment standard, this bill would authorize $200 million a year from FY 2022-2026.

Impact

Consumers & the public’s health; companies that use PFAS in their products; community water systems & states; and the EPA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2467

$280.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would cost at least $280 million over the ten-year period from 2021-2031.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) reintroduced this bill from the 116th Congress to protect Americans from PFAS contamination. In opening remarks, Rep. Pallone said:

“PFAS contamination is a pressing issue for countless communities, and while the EPA under President Biden is working hard to address the issue, it is still playing catch up after four years of inaction. One year after the House passed this bill, we still don’t have a drinking water standard, a test rule, or a hazardous substance designation for even a single PFAS chemical.”

After this bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Pallone said:

“Protecting Americans’ drinking water means protecting it from toxic PFAS chemicals, which are right now contaminating not only our water, but also our household supplies. This contamination poses severe, demonstrated health risks that we simply cannot afford to ignore. The PFAS Action Act will regulate these toxic ‘forever chemicals,’ clean up contamination, and protect public health.”

In the previous Congress, Rep. Pallone offered the following statement after this bill to address PFAS contamination & exposure passed his committee:

“PFAS are persistent, toxic chemicals that last forever and spread through our water, air and soil. Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee took action to address the public health threat and growing problems associated with PFAS. This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation now includes 11 additional bills to protect Americans from PFAS and clean up waste sites. I commend all the Members who worked on this package of bills for their leadership. This legislation is critical to stopping the flow of these harmful chemicals into our environment, drinking water, cooking products, and more. I look forward to the full House voting on this bill soon.”

The United State Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and National Association of Counties wrote a joint letter expressing concerns about this legislation on June 22, 201:

“Our communities need financial assistance to address our drinking water infrastructure challenges, but we can not absorb costly unfunded mandates that will become an additional burden to local budgets and our residents. While we acknowledge the public health risks associated with PFAS chemicals and urge Congress and the Administration to examine PFAS contamination holistically and to take comprehensive action to address the problem, the federal government should avoid passing costs onto local governments and ratepayers for PFAS treatment and cleanup.”

During the 116th Congress, House Republicans opposed this bill in committee, arguing that its mandates are too aggressive in light of an incomplete scientific understanding of PFAS and that more moderate steps should be taken while research continues:

“We recognize the increased community anxiety that occurs due to the discovery of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination, and we understand that some states may face disproportionate burdens without more federal action. Unfortunately, H.R. 535 as amended mandates multiple, aggressive actions based on a woefully incomplete scientific understanding of the health effects of this diverse class of up to 5,000 chemicals. More modest steps are warranted in the interim to address demonstrated health risks and additional review to cover those areas that need more attention.” 

In the 116th Congress, this bill's predecessor passed the House by a 247-159 vote with the support of 66 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 62 Democrats and four Republicans. The Republican-controlled Senate did not take up the bill.

This legislation passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee on a 31-19 vote along mostly party-lines and has the support of 66 cosponsors, including 62 Democrats and four Republicans.

Of Note: PFAS exposure has been linked to severe adverse health impacts, including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, ulcerative colitis, and kidney and testicular cancer. In a 2007 study, PFOS and PFOA were detected in over 98% of samples taken across the United States.

Although most manufacturers have voluntarily phased out PFOA and PFOS, thousands of PFAS formulations continue to be produced, and only a small percentage of them have been reviewed.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell and Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Ole-Gunnar)

AKA

PFAS Action Act of 2021

Official Title

To require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed July 21st, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 241 Yea / 183 Nay
      house Committees
      Environment and Climate Change
      Water Resources and Environment
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    IntroducedApril 13th, 2021

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    PFA’s are known to be toxic in our air and water. This legislation initiates the studies of how much is too much, which types of PFA’s are the most hazardous and how to safely dispose of them. It further provides a foundation for the EPA to mandate measures and controls of levels/types found in water systems to prevent wide spread consumption for those PFA’s found to be hazardous - if the EPA administrator judges them to be so. The rational for a Nay vote is vacuous since this bill does not require the EPA to mandate controls/measures of PFA’s unless studies indicate that mandates are required. This is a good bill that studies potentially hazardous PFA chemical levels in drinking water and authorizes the EPA to act to initiate controls where and when they may be needed. It is the kind of study and potential actions needed to mitigate hazardous concentrations efficiently; And exemplifies the very kind of role that tha EPA was created for.
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    While I am all for addressing the threat posed by PFAS contamination, it appears that this bill is premature due to insufficient completed research to justify such actions.
    Like (12)
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    “The research conducted to date reveals possible links between human exposures to PFAS and adverse health outcomes. These health effects include altered metabolism,3 fertility,4 reduced fetal growth and increased risk of being overweight or obese,5 and reduced ability of the immune system to fight infections.6” https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pfc/index.cfm
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    The The PFAS Action Act would require creation of a national drinking water standard for various PFAS chemicals which is much need after what happened in Flint (MI) and would support infrastructure legislation that will upgrade water infrastructure. Since 2006, EPA has reviewed 294 new PFAS chemicals and regulated 191 using orders and Significant New Use Rules (SNURs). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act SDWA, EPA has regulated 90+ drinking water contaminants, and has the authority to set enforceable Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for specific chemicals and can require monitoring of public water supplies but there are no MCLs established for PFAS chemical, and SDWA only applies to public water systems in the United States and does not apply to domestic drinking water wells. @Azrael: I suspect this was not done sooner because large companies like 3M & DuPont fought it in courts for years (and donate heavily to political campaigns), as well as governmental organizations like the Air Force & the State of Michigan. There are good movies about 1) “Dark Waters” - Robert Bilott representing a farmer Wilbur Tennant versus DuPont 2) “Flint” where city residents pursued the City of Flint, and subsequently the State of MI has to pay the City of Flint $87M to replace 18,000 unsafe waterlines. And an ongoing case in NM between a dairy farmer Art Schafer and the Air Force at Cannon Air Force Base. https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-laws-and-regulations https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/pfas-action-act-would-reinforce-accelerate-current-priorities https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/toxic-timeline-a-brief-history-of-pfas/article_20609664-48c7-574e-a9f7-1fb813e9a13e.html https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/20/dark-waters-movie-poses-risk-for-3m-analyst-says.html https://time.com/5737451/dark-waters-true-story-rob-bilott/ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Waters_(2019_film) https://www.myhighplains.com/news/local-news/clovis-dairy-farmer-says-he-lost-millions-in-revenue-due-to-pfas-contamination/
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    I live near a community where PFAS is a problem and has contaminated individual and community wells. To vote against this is stupid Addendum: As expected, and true to form, my House Representative voted against this resolution. Jim Hagedorn can be trusted to be a true sycophant.
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    Representatives, Pass H.R. 2467, “To require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.” Based on what we already know about PFAS, they are harmful to animals and humans, so we need this legislation passed now! Also, we need to support 1.Continued research into the harmful effects of these chemicals since their use may be necessary for certain situations for the time being, 2. Research into reversing the effects of these harmful chemicals to help those already exposed since we know these chemicals stay in the body a very long time, 3. Research into safe replacements for these dangerous chemicals. "A growing body of science has found that there are potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil and water." Key takeaway from "What are PFAS chemicals, and what are they doing to our health? | CNN" https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/health/what-are-pfas-chemicals/index.html <Quote> Are there health effects from PFAS? There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. If humans, or animals, ingest PFAS (by eating or drinking food or water than contain PFAS), the PFAS are absorbed, and can accumulate in the body. PFAS stay in the human body for long periods of time. As a result, as people are exposed to PFAS from different sources over time, the level of PFAS in their bodies may increase to the point where they suffer from adverse health effects. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause *reproductive and *developmental, *liver and *kidney, and *immunological effects in laboratory animals. *Both chemicals have caused tumors in animal studies. The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are *increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to: *infant birth weights, *effects on the immune system, *cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS). Oral exposure studies of PFBS in animals have shown *effects on thyroid hormone disruption, *reproductive organs and tissues, *developing fetus, and kidney. Based on dose-response information across different sexes, lifestages, and durations of exposure, *the thyroid appears to be particularly sensitive to oral PFBS exposure. The data are inadequate to evaluate cancer effects associated with PFBS exposure. <End Quote; Asterisks mine.> https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas Learn more about the Human Health Toxicity Assessment for PFBS https://www.epa.gov/pfas/learn-about-human-health-toxicity-assessment-pfbs
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    This really should not even require discussion. Whenever we detect that another chemical or substance is appearing in our water systems it should be tracked. That way once the research tells us exactly how good or bad that it, we will know the extent of the problem and can react faster. Faster means fewer lives lost or destroyed.
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    Another law/rule that should have been done year's ago..
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    This is a hazard to people health and the ground water.
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    While I support this, it hardly seems relevant given that the entire planet has begun to implode on itself now does it? Curious that humans will focus on one singular compound or contaminant that they may be consuming while we dump infinite numbers of similar crap into our oceans and air every hour on the hour with not a care in the world.
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    Yes.
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    Dr. “No”apparently doesn’t care if we become ill or die from toxic chemicals. Lori is right, this 💩💩 cares for his gun more than his constituents. VOTE ANDY HARRIS OUT!!
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    Holding companies responsible for their impact on the environment is crucial to our survival.
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    Not sure while the Country is on fire, we should be complaining about the retardant foam that firefighters are using to try and suppress it. I am for changing food packaging if there are chemicals used that are harmful.
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    We have to protect the air we breathe & the water we drink this is life. This is our children’s future. Polluted water leads to the dumbing of our children plain and simple pollutants in the water affects their brains and it’s not going to be in a good way.
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    Rep Bergman voted Nay. PFas is responsible for adverse Health outcomes; altered matabolism, fertility problems, reduced fetal growth, increased risk of being over weight or obese, reduced immune system to fight infections.
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    Representative Luetkemeyer, Senators Blunt, & Hawley: Are you FOR the people? Or not? I remind you, yet again, of Missouri’s motto: Salus populi suprema lex esto. Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law. PLEASE legislate that.
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    I agree 100% that PFAS should be monitored and declared hazardous by EPA. NH waters have been contaminated for years. Take action now.
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    We need clean water!
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    Humanity is turning our beautiful planetary into a sewer. The atmosphere contains an unbelievable amount of pollution due to unlocking the safely stored carbon in our earth. And then denying it for decades. We don’t need decades of study that is obviously common sense. Forever chemicals don’t need to be unregulated for decades for us to know the outcome. I am in my 70s. I studied this in college. Pollution is not a new concept or concern.
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