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Green Science Policy Institute Holds PFAS Briefings for Congress this Week

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gspi_logo_whiteOn Monday and Tuesday, June 11 and 12, the Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI) held Briefings on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for the House and Senate. The speakers included representatives from GSPI, a Harvard University health effects researcher, and the lawyer who represented Parkersburg, WV and Minnesota in the cases against PFAS manufacturers. During the briefings, the speakers provided some basic information about PFAS in products and drinking water, occurrence and health effects, current legislation to address PFAS, and recommendations for addressing and preventing PFAS contamination and health effects.

Some of the current federal and state legislation mentioned at the briefing included the H.R.4 FAA Reauthorization Act that has passed the House and includes a provision in Section 203 to change the FAA performance standard to “not require the use of fluorinated chemicals,” and Washington’s new law to ban PFAS in food packaging. The recommendations mentioned at the briefing are provided in the handout on “Protecting our Health and Environment from PFAS” and also in the letter to legislators entitled “Proposal for coordinated health research in PFAS-contaminated communities in the United States.” Some of the recommendations include:

  • Change the MILSpec (Military Specification for Class B Firefighting Foams) and allow the use of fluorine-free foams with similar efficacy.
  • Change FAA rules to allow the use of fluorine-free foams at civilian airports and do not use PFAS fire-fighting foams for aviation and other practice drills.
  • When considering product alternatives, avoid the entire class of PFAS.
  • Monitor for a diversity of PFAS in drinking water and expand the five-year national study of PFOA and PFOS exposures resulting from military use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam (in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (HR2810)) to include a wider range of PFASs.
  • Develop enforceable health-based limits (MCLs) for PFOA, PFAS, and eventually all PFAS.
  • Work with the federal government agencies already involved in PFAS research to coordinate health studies.

For more information about GSPI’s efforts and recommendations, and to view more of their resources such as the Fluorinated Replacements: Myths versus Facts and the four-minute video on PFAS prevalence, visit their web pages on PFAS in drinking water and highly fluorinated chemicals.