A bill setting new regulatory and cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination was approved Wednesday in the House of Representatives.
“Thousands of Americans have suffered devastating effects from exposure to PFAS chemicals with little or no action taken by our colleagues in the Senate," said Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the Capital Region who sponsors the bill. "Today’s vote gives this bold legislation its best chance yet to raise the bar on PFAS safety and protect the health and welfare of all Americans, especially our hardest hit communities.”
The bill's passage came the same day a $65 million preliminary settlement was reached in the Hoosick Falls water contamination case after four companies were accused of a decades-long contamination of the water in the Rensselaer County community.
The bill would enable the Environemntal Protection Agency to require the cleanup of sites found to be contaminated with PFOA and PFOS and set air emission limits while also baring unsafe burning of PFAS and place new limits on the introduction of PFAS chemicals.
The EPA would alos be required to develop a communication strategy and website to provide communities with information on the testing of household well water.
And exposure to PFAS would be limited by requiring a drinking water standard for PFAS, with vulnerable people like pregnant women, children and infants under consideration.
The measure did not have industry backing, however. The American Chemistry Council in a statement criticized the approach of the bill.
“Unfortunately, the PFAS Action Act takes decisions out of the hands of EPA’s career scientists who are best positioned to make regulatory determinations," the group said in a statement. "It also applies a one-size-fits all approach to regulating the wide variety of PFAS chemistries."