Maloney Introduces Bill to Regulate PFAS Testing
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced H.R. 2608, the PFAS Testing Act of 2019, to require the testing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Toxic Substances Control Act. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals including PFOA, PFOS, and GenX. PFAS have historically been manufactured by a variety of industries since the 1940s. These toxins don’t break down over time and can lead to serious health effects including cancer, premature death, asthma, and infertility. This legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct thorough testing of all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and make all results public.
“An estimated 19 million Americans have PFAS toxins in their water,” said Rep. Maloney. “This is a big problem for a lot of people. We can't just keep waiting on the EPA. It’s time for Congress to step up and do right by our neighbors who are exposed to this stuff. My bill expanding PFAS testing parameters is an essential part of our fight to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals.”
In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate harmful and damaging chemicals before they came to market. However, approximately 62,000 existing chemicals were grandfathered in at the time of its enactment, precluding them from safety tests and limiting the ability of the EPA to investigate them. According to a recent study, this gross lack of oversight has exposed 19 million people to contaminated water.
Rep. Maloney has been a leader in the fight to clean up PFAS contaminated sites since coming to Congress. In October of 2016, Rep. Maloney introduced the Investing in Testing Act to require the CDC to conduct a federal study into the long-term health effects of PFOS/PFOA exposure in response to water contamination concerns in Newburgh. He reintroduced the bill in the 115th Congress. Although the provision was not initially included in the NDAA, Rep. Maloney and his colleagues wrote a letter to the committee responsible for determining what would be in the final bill and requested that the legislation included a provision to require CDC testing. The NDAA passed the House of Representatives on November 14th and became law with Rep. Maloney’s provision included.
Since abnormally and unacceptably high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were found in The City of Newburgh’s water supply in the Hudson Valley, Rep. Maloney has worked with local, state and federal officials to call for an immediate investigation and hold those responsible accountable while ensuring that city residents didn't get stuck with the clean up bill. Newburgh residents now have a clean water source and Rep. Maloney helped to secure funding to aid mitigation efforts and continues to work across all levels of government to ensure said contamination never occurs again.