Assistant Speaker Clark Votes To Prevent PFAS Chemicals From Polluting Drinking Water

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In full transparency, the following is a press release from Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s office. The Assistant Speaker is a Democrat.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, July 21, Assistant Speaker Clark (MA-5) voted in support of the PFAS Action Act, comprehensive legislation that will regulate Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), clean up toxic contamination, and protect public health. 

According to the Boston Globe, since Massachusetts enacted new safety regulations last fall, more communities have found elevated levels of PFAS in their drinking water.

“Clean water is a human right. We can’t sit on the sidelines while families in the Fifth District and across the country are exposed to contaminated drinking water and fall sick to preventable illnesses due to a lack of commonsense protections,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in taking this proactive step to protect our communities and prevent the spread of PFAS contamination so that every American has access to clean water.”

PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals that have been linked with negative health effects including cancer, immune system effects, infertility, and impaired child development. PFAS can accumulate and stay in the human body for long periods of time.

“PFAS chemicals are everywhere, can wreak havoc on our bodies, and have no place in our water,” said Heather Govern, Vice President for Clean Air and Water for the Conservation Law Foundation. “For decades, the federal government has failed to protect our health and environment from PFAS, while corporations have made billions producing these toxic substances. By setting stricter measures and deadlines, Rep. Clark’s bill will push EPA to take this threat seriously.” 

“We are thankful that the Federal government will be taking the lead with respect to PFAS regulations. The landscape for PFAS is complex and muddled at this time, said Louise L.E. Miller, Wayland Town Administrator. “With respect to the safety of drinking water, without EPA regulations, various states, including Massachusetts, have implemented differing standards and methodologies resulting in confusion to consumers.  For municipalities, we are also left with uncertainty in planning for required infrastructure upgrades and potentially changing standards.  Setting regulations at the Federal level will bring clarity and structure.  We are also hopeful that, as regulations are established, funding will follow.  The legislation provides much needed initial funding for PFAS mitigation especially for communities that may otherwise struggle to fund the required infrastructure.  We are again thankful that our Federal legislators are working so hard to promote and protect the health of the American population.”

The PFAS Action Act will:

  • Roll back PFAS contamination in the environment by requiring cleanup of sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals, setting air emission limits, prohibiting unsafe incineration of PFAS, and limiting the introduction of new PFAS chemicals in consumer and industry products;
  • Verify health risks by requiring comprehensive health testing for all PFAS chemicals, reporting of PFAS releases, and monitoring for PFAS in drinking water;
  • Limit human exposure to PFAS by instituting a drinking water standard for PFAS that protects public health, including the health of vulnerable groups like pregnant women, infants, and children.

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