On July 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets out a number of actions to manage and prevent further environmental contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). An article published by non-governmental organization Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families notes that one of the amendments included in the bill would ban PFAS from food packaging used by the military. The primary focus of the bill, however, surrounds requiring PFAS contaminated sites to be eligible for clean-up funding under the U.S. Superfund law (CERCLA), adding PFAS as toxic pollutants within the Clean Water Act, and phasing out the use of PFAS in military firefighting foams.
Liz Hitchcock, acting director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families applauded the move saying that “communities across the country are suffering from devastating health effects. We are thrilled that the House has taken bold action to turn off the tap on the military’s use of these dangerous toxic chemicals and to begin to clean up the mess.” In a statement, industry association the American Chemistry Council (ACC) expressed concern. “Unfortunately, the House passed NDAA takes a partisan approach to addressing PFAS – not a scientific one. CERCLA listing decisions are scientific questions that Congress is not best positioned to address.” The differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will need to be rectified, and it will then be passed on to the U.S. president for review and signing. In a statement, the president’s office published a list of concerns it has with the current bill, many of which are related to shifts in funding allocation.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (July 12, 2019). “House passes NDAA amendments to tackle PFAS contamination crisis.”
ACC (July 12, 2019). “ACC: We Will Continue to Advocate for Science Based Approach to PFAS in NDAA.”
Food and Water Watch (July 12, 2019). “The Trump Administration Wants Toxic Forever Chemicals In Our Water.”
Lisa Martine Jenkins (July 11, 2019). “Trump objects to PFAS foam restrictions, threatens to veto spending bill.” Chemical Watch