U.S. House bill to regulate “forever chemicals” contamination in our drinking water

The U.S. House Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation that would regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water, as well as designate two types of those toxic chemicals as hazardous substances that would spark federal cleanup standards.

The bill, H.R. 2467, also known as the PFAS Action Act of 2021, passed 241-183, with 23 Republicans joining Democrats in voting for it.

In the Florida delegation, Republican U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast and Bill Posey joined Democrats in voting for the bill.

The legislation would direct EPA to start the regulatory process for regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water and making the decision on whether to set drinking water standards for certain types of PFAS or to regulate the entire class, which ranges from 5,000 to 7,000 substances.

“PFAS chemicals are an urgent threat to public health,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, (D-Mich.), said on the House floor. “Now almost every American has PFAS coursing through their blood after generations of using the chemicals.”

Chemical companies such as DuPont and Dow Chemical along with other businesses used the so-called forever chemicals to make nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, Scotchgard and other consumer products.

The Biden administration issued a statement of administration policy in support of passage of the House measure.

“Addressing these ‘forever chemicals’ remains one of the most complex environmental challenges of our day due to the number of chemicals, the impacts on human health, and the widespread use of PFAS and their ubiquity in the environment,” the statement said.

“The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure that these actions are taken in a thoughtful, transparent, and timely manner and are supported by the best science to restore confidence in our efforts to protect the health of the American people.”

Studies have linked PFAS contamination to various health problems such as high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and testicular and kidney cancer.

This report first appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.


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