Seattle, WA – A new U.S. EPA management plan released today to address harmful nonstick PFAS chemicals in drinking water in Washington state and across the country does not include the urgent actions needed to help affected communities or protect the health of residents and the environment, says the environmental health advocacy group Toxic-Free Future.
Millions of Americans, including residents in several Washington communities, have drinking water contaminated with the toxic chemicals. PFAS are extraordinarily persistent, not known to degrade in the environment, and linked to cancer and harm to the immune system. In 2018, Washington state became the first state to ban the use of the chemicals in firefighting foam and food packaging.
The EPA PFAS management plan was issued by the Trump Administration in response to the nationwide health crisis created by the widespread and unregulated use of PFAS. While states across the country are taking action to regulate PFAS more broadly, EPA’s plan proposes to develop drinking water standards for just two PFAS chemicals – PFOA and PFOS. There are thousands more chemicals in the PFAS class, some of which are showing up in drinking water in the state and used in firefighting foam and many consumer products.
The following is a statement by Toxic-Free Future Science Director Erika Schreder:
“There is an urgent need to stop the use of PFAS. We must turn off the tap of these chemicals that are flowing into our homes and waterways.
The EPA plan will not protect Washingtonians from these harmful chemicals that last indefinitely in the environment and get into drinking water. Washington state is far ahead of EPA in providing residents real protections from these chemicals and must continue to lead.
Washington state must continue its work to set stringing drinking water limits and implement the recommendations in the state’s PFAS chemical action plan, including addressing the use of PFAS in carpets, textiles, and providing assistance to communities with contaminated drinking water. The Washington State Legislature must provide the Department of Ecology with adequate authority and funding to take more immediate action to phase out the use of PFAS in consumer products.”
Currently, the Washington State Legislature is considering a bill to allow the Department of Ecology to take protective measures to reduce PFAS contamination from consumer products. HB 1194/ SB 5135 are sponsored by Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) and Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island).