Slotkin Amendment Passes as Part of Landmark PFAS Legislation
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) voted to pass landmark PFAS legislation today, including an amendment she introduced to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable for coming up with viable alternatives to AFFF, the firefighting foam at the root of PFAS contamination in many Michigan communities.
The comprehensive PFAS Action Act would set long-awaited standards for PFAS chemicals in drinking water; designate PFAS as a hazardous substance eligible for Superfund cleanup funds; and prevent the manufacturing of new products containing PFAS, among several other provisions.
“PFAS contamination hits close to home in Michigan and in our district,” Slotkin said. “We in Michigan are confronting widespread PFAS contamination in our water –– chemicals that we know are linked to cancer and other diseases. The PFAS Action Act does a great deal to meet the threat of PFAS contamination –– and my amendment will hold federal agencies accountable for finding viable alternatives to prevent further contamination.”
“I believe that access to clean water out of your tap is a right, not a privilege, and that environmental security is homeland security,” Slotkin continued. “While Michigan families can’t be confident that the water they are giving their children to drink won’t make them sick or give them a learning disability; when they can no longer fish the rivers or hunt in the areas they have hunted for years with their family –– that is a threat to our security and to our way of life in Michigan.”
In remarks on the U.S. House floor, Slotkin underscored Livingston County constituents’ concerns around PFAS contamination.
“This past summer, I toured Strawberry Lake, part of Livingston County’s beautiful Chain of Lakes, in my district, where foam resulting from PFAS build-up is visible in plain sight,” Slotkin said. “I held a forum focused on PFAS contamination in Pinckney, Michigan, a community that has been under a ‘do not eat fish’ advisory for over a year, and a ‘do not touch foam’ advisory for many months. The more than 200 attendees expressed deep concern about the impact of PFAS contamination on their health, safety, and livelihoods, and had simple questions about how to know whether their water is safe to drink, eat fish from, or even touch. In September, I met with Brighton Fire Chief Michal O’Brian and fire chiefs from across Livingston County, and discussed their concerns about exposure to firefighting foam that contains high concentrations of PFAS.”
With a number of PFAS-contaminated sites in Michigan’s 8th district, including at five schools, Slotkin has made mitigating PFAS contamination a priority in her legislative work in Congress. In particular, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Slotkin helped secure provisions in the NDAA that hold the Department of Defense accountable for its role in PFAS contamination, and requires DoD to stop using AFFF by 2024.
The PFAS Action Act builds on that progress with a robust package of 12 bills that address PFAS contamination head-on, with provisions to:
Direct the EPA to establish drinking water standards for PFAS;
Prevent any new materials containing PFAS from coming to market;
Designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under the law that governs the Superfund cleanup program;
Stem the flow of PFAS contamination into the environment by requiring cleanup of sites contaminated with PFOA and PFOS;
Identify health risks by requiring comprehensive health testing for all PFAS, reporting of PFAS releases, and monitoring for PFAS in drinking water;
Authorize $100 million annually through fiscal 2024 to help states address contamination in drinking water;
Authorize $100 million in both fiscal 2020 and 2021 for a grant program to support the installation of treatment technologies;
Create a voluntary label for cookware that is PFAS-free;
Provide guidance for first responders to limit their exposure.
Michigan has the highest number of identified PFAS-contaminated sites in the country. PFAS has been known to cause cancer and birth defects along with other adverse health effects.