Seattle, WA –Washington state health advocates applauded Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for urging the Department of Defense to clean up drinking water contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) used in some firefighting foams. Recently, drinking water in several Washington state communities tested high for PFAS chemicals, above USEPA health advisory limits.

Linked to a variety of health concerns, including cancer and developmental issues, PFAS chemicals are highly toxic and can stay in the human body for up to eight years or more.

The following is a statement from Toxic-Free Future Executive Director Laurie Valeriano:

“All Washingtonians expect and deserve drinking water that won’t make them sick. We applaud today’s announcement by Senators Murray and Cantwell that they are working towards a solution for the thousands of residents affected by PFAS-contaminated drinking water.

The existing PFAS contamination must be cleaned up as soon as effectively possible. The Department of Defense must also ensure residents affected by the contamination have safe drinking water. To prevent future PFAS contamination, the military must identify and switch to PFAS-free firefighting foams that are safer and effective.

It is also critical that Washington state take actions to prevent a new generation of PFAS chemicals, currently in wide use, from causing the same problem in the future. Washington should issue comprehensive drinking water standards for these chemicals and phase out the use of these chemicals in products such as firefighting foams, food packaging materials, cosmetics and textiles. Stopping the chemicals from entering the environment in the first place is the only real long-term solution.”

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