Shaheen & Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Introduce Legislation To Reduce PFAS Exposure Among Service Members & Military FamiliesJune 29, 2020
**Pervasive & persistent chemicals are in a variety of everyday items & exposure has been linked to cancer, liver damage, asthma, and other serious health conditions**
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation today with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Mike Turner (R-OH) to reduce exposure of service members and their families to harmful PFAS chemicals. The bicameral, bipartisan PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act prohibits the Department of Defense from acquiring items that contain these dangerous and toxic chemicals commonly found in food service ware, carpets and rugs, cosmetics, and many other everyday items. PFAS exposure has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
“PFAS exposure has been the cause of worry and uncertainty for too many families. That’s why we must prioritize policies to prevent and remediate PFAS chemical exposure. This bill is an important investment in the first part of that strategy: prevention,” said Shaheen. “PFAS chemicals have found their way into not only our water systems, but also every day supplies including food packaging, cosmetics and many other household items. This legislation would help protect our service members and their families from exposure by prohibiting the Department of Defense from procuring items that contain these harmful contaminants. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort.”
The PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act is endorsed by the Environmental Working Group and the Green Science Policy Institute.
“Our military service members risk everything to keep us safe,” said Scott Faber, Vice President of the Environmental Working Group, which tracks PFAS pollution at military bases. “We should do everything we can to protect service members from toxic chemicals like PFAS, which contaminate the groundwater of hundreds of DOD installations. We applaud Senators Blumenthal and Shaheen and Representative Slotkin for building on the progress made in last year’s NDAA by ending DOD uses of forever chemicals in everyday products like cosmetics and sunscreen.”
"Tens of millions of Americans have been drinking water contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals for decades. We can clean up that drinking water, at great expense, but the PFAS polluting our rivers and lakes will never be removed,” said Arlene Blum. PhD, Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute. "Our best strategy is to stop the use of PFAS at its source--in products. This legislation does exactly that by instructing the military to stop purchasing products--furniture, carpeting, and even dental floss--containing these harmful chemicals. With the PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act we can have healthier products and healthier people."
The full text of the Senate legislation can be found here. A similar version of the legislation was introduced in the House.
Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. Shaheen successfully established the first-ever nationwide health study on the impacts of PFAS substances in drinking water. Government funding legislation signed into law last year included a number of provisions authored and supported by Shaheen to respond to PFAS contamination, including a provision that would phase out the use of PFAS in Department of Defense firefighting foams and prohibit its use in the military after 2024, an additional $10 million to continue the nationwide PFAS health impact study that Shaheen established in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 defense bill, $43 million for the EPA to help states address PFAS contamination and remediation, and funding for PFAS research on firefighters’ protective gear. In the annual defense bill signed into law last year, Senator Shaheen worked to include the bipartisan Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which expedites analysis of water contaminants like PFAS and provides support and resources to states dealing with the health challenges posed by these potentially harmful materials. Earlier this month, Shaheen introduced the PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act, which would provide blood testing for service members during their annual periodic health assessment (PHA) and for former service members if they were stationed at one of the more than 600 military installations contaminated by PFAS.
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