Congress Sides with Chemical Industry over Americans’ Health as European Countries Plan to Phase out Toxic PFAS Chemicals by 2030

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2019

CONTACT: Michael Green, CEH’s CEO and Founder, 510-378-7333, Zack Kaldveer, CEH’s Communications Manager, 510-938-2664

Despite Important New Provisions, 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Fails To Protect Americans’ Health From PFAS Pollution

OAKLAND, CA—This week, Congress passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with key CEH supported provisions compelling the Pentagon to phase out the military’s use of PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging by 2024. But considering the magnitude of the public health crisis posed by our increasing exposure to this hazardous class of toxic chemicals this is a weak and woefully inadequate response. CEH applauds other encouraging first steps, such as adding more PFAS in Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The bill also requires that the Department of Defense (DOD) to properly incinerate firefighting foams and expands DOD clean-up programs to include National Guard bases.

Unfortunately, in the week leading up to this vote, Congress dropped provisions that would have assisted the victims of these crimes, rather than allow those that committed them to continue to do so. The legislation fails to reduce ongoing releases of these toxic fluorinated chemicals, force those responsible to remove PFAS from our water supplies, mandate cleanup PFAS-contaminated communities by those corporations responsible, categorize PFAS as “hazardous chemicals” under the federal Superfund law, and include all PFAS in the TRI.

In response, Michael Green, CEO of the Center for Environmental Health released the following statement:

“At this very moment communities from North Carolina to California are being poisoned by exposure to PFAS contamination. PFAS are everywhere, in almost everyone, they never die, and are hazardous to the health of humans and the planet. As European countries aggressively move to phase out PFAS by 2030, our government just gave Dupont and company the right to continue to profit off the poison business. This is a health crisis that demands immediate and coordinated action at every level from the public and private sectors to all citizens that want a healthy future for their children. We acknowledge the important victories in this legislation, particularly the commitment to stop using PFAS in fire fighting foams and foodware on military bases, but it’s a far cry from what’s needed. All communities deserve the right to clean air, water, and soil. It’s time to embrace scientific reality and start prioritizing peoples’ health over corporate profit. We must put an end to the continued discharge of these chemicals into our water and environment and force those responsible for cleaning up the toxic chemicals that will continue to cause untold human suffering for decades to come. We are grateful for the communities, partners, and our allies in Congress who pushed hard for stronger provisions in the bill. We vow to double down our efforts to work together  in the coming year to eliminate PFAS use and exposure.”

About the Center for Environmental Health 

CEH protects people from toxic chemicals in their air, water, food, homes, and schools. When they became aware that a handful of multi-billion-dollar chemical companies were knowingly harming public and environmental health for nearly 70 years CEH took action. The organization’s fight combating the PFAS epidemic includes a recent ground-breaking report detailing PFAS contamination in foodware, a campaign to detoxify state prison facilities where furniture contaminated with PFAS chemicals is made, litigation to remove PFAS from consumer products, and working with school districts around the country to transition to PFAS-free foodware options to protect the most vulnerable of all, young people. 

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