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Response to PFAS Being Regulated as a Class

7/6/2020

National PFAS Contamination Coalition Reaction to PFAS Being Regulated As A Class

On June 30, 2020, the peer-reviewed article titled “Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class” authored by 16 of the nation’s leading scientists was published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. The paper presents a scientific basis for managing the thousands of chemicals known as PFAS as one chemical class. The reason for the class approach is related to the shared physicochemical, environmental, toxicological, biopersistence, bioaccumulation, and hazardous properties of PFAS studied to date. The paper also discusses options for how governments and industry can apply the class-based approach, emphasizing the importance of eliminating non-essential uses of PFAS, and further developing safer alternatives and methods to remove existing PFAS from the environment.

The National PFAS Contamination Coalition (NPCC) membership represents over 30 grassroots community groups in 21 states fighting PFAS chemical pollution in our air, soil, water, food, and from occupational exposures. NPCC’s top priority is to advocate for national regulation of PFAS as a class with a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)  of 1 part per trillion (ppt) or less. This article calling for PFAS to be regulated as a class strongly aligns with the goal of the NPCC and we fully support the position of this peer-reviewed, scientific paper. 

Members of the NPCC know first hand that for decades, residents in our communities were overexposed to a mixture of many different PFAS. Results from blood work and biomonitoring in various communities prove that our families have been contaminated with numerous PFAS, leading to an even more significant concern of the total body burden ourselves and our loved ones are experiencing.

The NPCC also views regulating PFAS as a class as an opportunity to address a more comprehensive clean up and remediation process under federal and state programs that will benefit communities currently being exposed to a mixture of PFAS. It is critical to stop the exposure of the entire class of PFAS and to clean up the extensive contamination nationwide to prevent further harm to human health and the environment.   

For far too long, PFAS have been given the benefit of the doubt, while communities suffer from ongoing exposure to a mixture of PFAS in the absence of protective regulation at the federal level. It is encouraging to see some states take action to set their own enforceable standards for PFAS in the absence of federal regulation. It is also promising to see some major companies removing PFAS from their products as referenced in this scientific paper. However, those steps are not enough to ultimately protect public health and the focus must be on regulating the entire class of these toxic chemicals. 

Sadly, we cannot undo the PFAS exposure that has happened to our members and families. We continue to face some of the known, as well as a vast number of unknowns of the long-lasting impacts the class of PFAS will present to us. However, we can learn from this situation and take action to prevent ongoing PFAS exposure to communities by regulating PFAS as a class, as presented in this peer-reviewed article supported by leading scientists. 

NPCC envisions a PFAS-free world where people are not exposed to any PFAS, where the environment and public health are protected, where there is justice for the victims of PFAS exposure, and where laws and regulations prevent contamination disasters like this from happening again. The NPCC is calling on the EPA to enact a national enforceable drinking water standard that is health protective for infants, children and vulnerable populations, by setting a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 1ppt or less for all PFAS at the federal level.

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Letter opposed to Nancy Beck’s nomination

June 16, 2020

Via electronic mail

The Honorable Roger Wicker, Chairman

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

United States Senate United States Senate

555 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Maria Cantwell

Ranking Member

Committee on Commerce and Transportation

United States Senate

511 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

RE: National PFAS Contamination Coalition OPPOSES Nancy Beck Nomination To Chair Consumer Product Safety Commission

Dear Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell:

We, the undersigned community group leaders, are writing to express our strong opposition to the nomination of Nancy Beck to Chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). We are members of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition. Our membership represents over 30 grassroots community groups in 21 states fighting PFAS chemical pollution in our air, soil, water, food, and from occupational exposures. 

For decades, many residents in our communities have been overexposed to PFAS chemicals. We call PFAS “forever chemicals” because that’s what they do–they live forever, never breaking down. This dangerous forever chemistry bioaccumulates in our bodies and in our environment.

For too long, the health and safety of our families have been disregarded. We are seeing major diseases and illnesses in people far too young in our communities. Many in our group have visited Congress on numerous occasions testifying about our personal heartaches, our illnesses, and our fears because of these forever chemical exposures. 

As you know, the CPSC is the federal agency responsible for protecting the public against dangers associated with consumer products including toys, children’s products, home furnishings, cleaning supplies, cookware, and some tools and building materials. We rely on this agency to protect our health and our children’s health from unnecessary toxic exposures. That’s why it concerned us to learn Nancy Beck is best known for her long career of opposing health protections from dangerous toxic chemicals, including her time as an official for the largest trade association of chemical manufacturers. For the past three years, Beck has headed EPA’s “Chemical Safety” office, and she is currently leading the Trump administration’s policies on PFAS.

As organizations and individuals whose families and communities have been directly harmed by PFAS chemicals in our drinking water, food supply, the very air we breathe, occupational exposures and consumer products, we judge her suitability as a nominee by her record of action (or inaction) to address the nation’s burgeoning PFAS contamination crisis.  Unfortunately, her record is one of failure rather than one of action and urgency.

While directing EPA’s Chemical Safety office, Nancy Beck has failed to use her authority to address PFAS contamination, and she has undermined efforts to strengthen protections from these harmful toxic chemicals.

  • Nancy Beck’s first actions after arriving at EPA were to rewrite rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prevent consideration of the harm caused by PFAS in drinking water or polluted air .
  • Beck never required chemical manufacturers to disclose information about PFAS, including how much was produced, how and where it was disposed of, and how many workers and people were exposed. Finally, Congress stepped in and ordered the EPA to gather the information.
  • Beck never required industry dischargers to report their releases of PFAS into our air, water or land. Finally, Congress stepped in and ordered EPA to gather the information.
  • Beck failed to require notice of potential new uses of PFAS in consumer products.  Finally, Congress stepped in and ordered EPA to act.  Beck then pressed EPA to adopt the weakest approach she could get away with, meaning more of our loved ones will be exposed to PFAS.
  • Beck failed to ban, or even temporarily postpone, the introduction of any new PFAS into the marketplace (and into the environment and our bodies).  Instead, when the House was considering bipartisan legislation to postpone the approval of any new PFAS for five years, Beck helped issue a statement from the White House threatening to veto the bill (it passed anyway).
  • Beck failed to issue a single order requiring toxicity testing of PFAS, despite the Administration’s claims that it needs more information about PFAS before it can restrict their use or set safety standards.
  • Beck worked with White House staff to suppress a CDC report showing EPA’s existing health standards for toxic PFAS chemicals are too weak to protect our families. The White House was concerned that the report would be a “public relations nightmare.” 

The CPSC has jurisdiction over numerous consumer products that may contain PFAS, including cookware, carpets, raingear, and footwear. Beck’s record at the EPA and the White House amply demonstrates her total lack of commitment to addressing the PFAS crisis and should disqualify her for consideration to be the next Chair of the CPSC.

Unfortunately, Nancy Beck’s deeply problematic record isn’t limited to undermining efforts to address the PFAS crisis. She has blocked numerous efforts to protect the public from cancer-causing and brain-damaging chemicals, demonstrating her unfitness to lead an Agency charged with protecting our nation’s children. 

Most notably, Nancy Beck has:

  • Withheld needed protection for children, workers and rural communities by blocking the proposed ban on the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos.
  • Rejected needed protection for children by refusing to ban the use of a brain-damaging pesticide (TCVP) in pet products including flea collars and shampoos.
  • Blocked proposed rules for protecting workers, consumers and children from TCE which is linked to cancer, fetal heart defects, liver and kidney toxicity and harm to the immune system.
  • Refused to consider exposure to contaminated drinking water as a factor in determining whether to impose restrictions or set safety standards for 1,4 dioxane.
  • Delayed children’s protections for lead by failing to update the hazard standard for lead paint – contrary to a federal court order.

The last thing that our communities need is Nancy Beck as Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Our children and family’s health should be protected, not sacrificed. We strongly urge you to oppose her nomination.

Signed:

Linda Shosie, Tucson, Arizona, Environmental Justice Task Force- Tucson 

Eric Weiner, Windsor, Connecticut, Clean Water Task Force @ Windsor Climate Action

Stel Bailey, Cocoa, Florida, Fight For Zero

Lindsey Duhe, Pensacola, Florida, Saufley Field Community

Lynn Sprayberry, Summerville, Georgia, Chattooga County

Susan Phelan, West Barnstable, Massachusetts, GreenCAPE 

Ryan Riley, Salem, Massachusetts, Your Turnout Gear and PFOA 

Arnie Leirche, Oscada, Mighigan, Wurtsmith Restoration Advisory Board Community Co-chair

Anthony Spaniola, Oscada, Mighigan, Need Our Water (NOW)

Diane and Paul Cotter, Rindge, New Hampshire, Your Turnout Gear and PFOA 

Laurene Allen, Merrimack, New Hampshire, Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water 

Andrea Amico, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Testing for Pease

Loreen Hackett, Hoosick Falls, New York, PfoaProjectNY

Jack Caldwell. New Windsor, New York. Quassiack Creek Watershed Alliance

Emily Donovan, Wilmington, North Carolina. Clean Cape Fear

Katie Bryant, Pittsboro, North Carolina, Clean Haw River

Hope Grosse, Joanne Stanton, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania, Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water

Kevin Ferrara, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Retired USAF Firefighter

Cheryl Cail, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, SC Idle No More

Shaina Kasper, Montpelier, Vermont. Toxics Action Center

John Cranmer, Gillette, Wyoming. USAF Firefighter

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Tox Profile Nomination Letter

To: ATSDR
From: National PFAS Contamination Coalition Re: ​2020 ToxProfile Nomination

Dear ATDSR,

May 27, 2020

We are the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, comprised of citizen groups in 22 PFAS impacted communities in 18 states and territories across the country, and we are writing to express input ​on which substances ATSDR should prioritize for the next round of Toxicological Profile development​. We are writing today to advocate that a large class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) be considered in the next round of Toxicological Profile development. We are aware of ATSDR’s ​Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls released for public comment in June 2018. This document reported the data on some PFAS in this large class of more than 5,000 chemicals and recommended Provisional Minimal Risk Levels on only 4 different PFAS.

We feel strongly that ATSDR should consider the entire class of PFAS in their next round of Toxicological Profile development because many impacted communities are not just exposed to a handful of PFAS. ​And we urge ATSDR to consider a Provisional Minimal Risk Level of 1 part per trillion or less for the entire class of PFAS as we feel this is the most protective standard to minimize risk to impacted communities based on the best available science.

PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they have one of the strongest bonds in chemistry causing them to live forever, never breaking down, and bioaccumulating in our bodies and in our environment. ​For decades, ​many residents in our communities have been overexposed to a mixture of many dif​ferent PFAS. Through blood work and/or biomonitoring in various communities, results prove as fact that our families have been contaminated with numerous PFAS, leading to an even larger concern of the total body burden, as well as the unknown of additional PFAS that haven’t yet been tested, but we know are in use. We do not have clear answers on what the long-term impacts of many of these individual PFAS will mean for our health. And we certainly do not have a clear understanding of how a mixture of many different PFAS, that we have been exposed to over a long period of time, will impact the health of our families and future generations. For too long, the health and safety of our families have been disregarded.

The use of non-target analysis to detect PFAS compounds in drinking water has been a pivotal catalyst for public awareness regarding the full extent of PFAS contamination for multiple community groups within our national coalition. We know we are not being exposed to one single compound anymore. ​PFAS is a large class of widely used chemicals causing communities to be exposed to so many different PFAS at once. It is ineffective to look at individual compounds one by one to determine risk to human health. Instead, our government agencies should take protective action on the entire class of PFAS and recommend minimal or no exposure to protect the health of the communities.​ We are seeing major diseases and illnesses in people far too young in our communities. Many in our group have spoken publicly on numerous occasions sharing our personal heartaches, our illnesses, and our fears because of these chemical exposures. Sadly, we cannot undo the PFAS exposure that has happened to us and our families. We continue to face the unknowns of the long lasting impacts the class of PFAS will present to us. However, we can learn from this situation and we can take action to prevent ongoing PFAS exposure to communities moving forward.

The National PFAS Contamination Coalition envisions a PFAS-free world where people are not exposed to any PFAS, where the environment and public health are protected, where there is justice for the victims of PFAS exposure, and where laws and regulations prevent contamination disasters like this from happening again. As organizations and individuals whose families and communities have been directly harmed by the contamination of our drinking water by PFAS, along with ongoing exposure via food, air pollution, occupational exposures and consumer products, we strongly request that you consider PFAS as a class in your next round of Toxicological Profile development and you recommend a Provisional Minimal Risk Level of 1 part per trillion or less for the entire class of PFAS.

Sincerely,

Andrea Amico Testing for Pease Portsmouth, NH

Diane and Paul Cotter
Your Turnout Gear and PFOA Rindge, NH

Loreen Hackett PFOA Project NY Hoosick Falls, NY

Linda Shosie
Environmental Justice Task Force Tucson, Arizona

Emily Donovan Clean Cape Fear Wilmington, NC

Sue Phelan GreenCAPE
W. Barnstable, MA

Laurene Allen
Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water

Merrimack, NH

Joanne Stanton and Hope Grosse Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water Warminster/Horsham, PA

Stel Bailey
Fight For Zero Brevard County, FL

Anthony M. Spaniola Need Our Water (NOW) Oscoda, Michigan

Community Impacts: Portsmouth, New Hampshire (by Andrea Amico):

The Pease International Tradeport is currently home to ~ 250 businesses where over 10,000 people a day come to work, attend daycare, visit medical office buildings, attend college, and more. It was once the former Pease Air Force Base from the 1950’s to the early 1990’s and has a legacy of significant environmental contamination. In 1991, it was declared a Superfund Site and has had extensive oversight by local, state, and federal agencies of clean up and past environmental issues while being redeveloped into the robust tradeport it is today.

However, in May of 2014, high levels of PFAS were discovered in the drinking water at the Pease Tradeport causing the largest producing drinking water well (one of three) to be shut down immediately. The source of PFAS at Pease is firefighting foam known to be made up of a mixture of many different PFAS. The Pease community was devastated to learn they had been exposed to high levels of contaminants in their drinking water for decades despite the extensive oversight of the environmental issues and clean up since the early 1990’s.

My two young children attended daycare at Pease starting at the very young age of 12 weeks old and my husband worked for a business there for years and they were drinking the water daily at work and at daycare prior to the discovery of PFAS in 2014. My family now has elevated levels of PFAS in their blood due to drinking contaminated water and I still lack clear answers on what the health effects will be given their exposure to multiple PFAS.

My life has changed forever as a result of their PFAS exposure. I feel incredible pain and fear that my family was exposed to a mixture of PFAS chemicals and I don’t have clear answers on what the long term consequences will be to their health – especially my children who were exposed at such young ages and at critical times in their development. I am angry that our government (DoD and EPA) knew of the harm and persistent traits of these chemicals for years prior to the discovery of the contamination in my community and not only did they not act to test for the compounds, but instead allowed the use of PFAS to continue. I feel guilty that I sent my children to a daycare where they were exposed to contaminated water, unbeknownst to me, and I have to forever worry about their health and development as these chemicals will take decades to leave their body. And I have been robbed of some of my happiness as a mother, a wife, and an individual that I have had to expend so much time and energy into advocating for an environmental catastrophe playing out across our entire nation while our government is slow to respond and take forceful and proactive steps to protect public health and prevent this devastation from happening to another innocent family.

Real people have been harmed by PFAS, families are devastated by this exposure, and communities are violated because they have been contaminated without consent. My personal story is just one of millions of people impacted by PFAS and we need strong action from our government to regulate this entire class of dangerous and toxic chemicals by recommending a level of 1 or less part per trillion for all PFAS.

First Responders, Nationwide (by Diane & Paul Cotter):

America’s Firefighters are exposed to PFAS via the Class B AFFF used in 58,000 fire stations in the nation with no national protocol for testing, removal, replacement and remediation. Only the state of New Hampshire has asked for a voluntary testing of fire wells when 7 of 10 wells tested elevated for PFAS in 2017. In addition to toxic AFFF, every firefighter who is wearing structural firefighting gear that meets NFPA Standard 1971 has been wearing staggering amounts of PFOA and PFAS that are degrading to form PFOA in hours to days, for at least 20 years. Only a non-industry independent investigation by nuclear physicist Dr Graham Peaslee of Notre Dame brought this issue to the attention of the fire service. His soon to be released findings may be the greatest challenge the fire service has ever faced. The fleet is hearing the ‘new C6 chemical replacement is completely safe’ and ‘ten times less toxic’. This a blatant disregard for the safety of our firefighters who are putting themselves in harms way.

This has been accomplished by the lack of regulations and health guidelines for the chemical family of PFAS. The makers of AFFF and PPE have ingrained themselves into every aspect of firefighter protection by immersing themselves within our own institutions, and making themselves voting members of the only safety councils we rely on, they are able to produce AFFF and PPE with staggering amounts of PFAS. Because of the C8 Science Panel and known health effects of PFAS chemicals, makers of our gear and AFFF produce science from paid consultants like Exponent who then use paid science to conduct the language to the fleet of America’s firefighters.

We must rely on strong health standards and independent institutional studies to break this corporate hold of the PFAS-circle-dance within the fire service as 3M, DuPont, Johnson Controls, and others are the sponsors of our own cancer summits and firefighter cancer research and voting members of our NFPA yet deny the harms of PFAS to the fire service.

Hoosick Falls, New York (by Loreen Hackett):

Hoosick Falls, NY, severely contaminated with PFOA leading to the first two Federal NPL Superfund site declarations, in addition to several NYS Superfund declarations for other sites in our community. Through several rounds of blood testing by NYSDOH, we now know we have a variety of PFAS toxins in our bodies, at disturbing levels. Through recent EPA and DEC air emissions tests, we know for fact there are many other PFAS being utilized by these industries, with many discovered as unidentifiable. Combined, these should be more than ample reasons to regulate PFAS as a class.

Tucson, Arizona (by Linda Shosie):

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on behalf of citizens of Tucson and NPCC relating, ATSDR’s- PFAS substances we should prioritize for profile development. We thank ATSDR- for taking these major steps forward to safeguard the nations environmental health. We thank our Legislation for there role in this mandate.

In my form of judgement this process is critical, and I do not mean to be forward about my comments, but I will include my comments now.

For too long, the south-side residents have been fighting to cleanup historical contamination in our community, which has met with nothing but resistance from the Air Force. Four decades after TCE groundwater contamination, which includes the TIA Superfund Site, PFAS has been discovered at the Arizona Air National Guard Installations Water Systems that serves more than 675,686, people in our entire community.

My 19-year old daughter Tianna M. Shosie died of a rare disease, that I believe was caused by PFAS contamination. Our community has seen increased cancer rates for four decades, and other mothers like myself have also witnessed the deaths of their children, we believe is culprit to PFAS contamination.

It is our understanding that DOD- Installation Water Systems has detected PFAS (11-14,000ppt) above EPA current Drinking Water HAL, which serves our entire public water systems in our community that serves more than 675,686.

If this is the case, which it is, we would like to express our strongest support to ATSDR- proposal to add PFAS substances to the SPL.

It is immoral and unacceptable to us that our families, friends, and neighbors, particularly our children, could be placed in this position where they live, learn and play, and pray, in an area that presents a potential health hazard and/or imminent health threat. Furthermore, it is very disturbing to us that the EPA- would be so irresponsible as to be a party to the injustice out of which this problem has arise.

We are pleading to ATSDR- to please consider PFAS class chemicals on the SPL and ensure us a margin of safety and make recommendations for our public protections to end exposures to PFAS.

Wilmington, North Carolina (by Emily Donovan):

In June 2017, over a quarter of a million residents learned they’d been consuming large quantities of newly identified PFAS chemicals, including GenX, Nafion Byproduct 2, and PFMOAA, coming from industrial discharges related to a fluorochemical manufacturing facility upstream from our primary source of drinking water. Many of these exposures were happening for decades. A human exposure study conducted by NC State further revealed more newly identified PFAS chemicals in blood samples of the Wilmington residents who participated–many of the PFAS chemicals detected in 98% – 99% of the samples taken. There is no proven safe disposal method for PFAS chemistry. Over-exposed communities, like ours, can no longer afford for industry, government, and/or the scientific community to be wrong regarding PFAS chemistry. PFAS compounds must be reviewed and assessed as a class.

Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (by Sue Phelan):

In May 2016, the Hyannis, MA, community learned that several wells supplying municipal drinking water tested above the EPA’s Drinking Water Health Advisory level (70 ppt) for perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Only 2 PFASs of the thousands known were tested. These contaminants entered the water supply from fire training exercises utilizing AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) from the 1950’s to the present from the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy and the Barnstable Municipal Airport as well as other possible sites yet to be identified. All are located above the sand-covered EPA-designated sole-source aquifer of Cape Cod-the only drinking water supply for the entire county. Hyannis is also the Cape’s hub of transportation, commerce, and tourism, with a year-round population of nearly 50,000 that expands to 150,000 in the summer. The area served by this water district is also a state and federally designated Environmental Justice Community. As individuals and as a community, we do not yet know the dosage or duration of our exposure or what, if any, related health outcomes we and the next generations might experience in our future. Many residents report a variety of health issues that have been associated with PFAS exposure, including cancers. It is critical for our community of thousands -exposed to PFAS for decades via the public drinking water supply-to know that their water is protected by federal law to the fullest extent possible. Regulation of a few of the hundreds of PFAS chemicals in the water supply is utterly inadequate. It would benefit the nation to have more protective and legally enforceable PFAS standards for drinking water, surface waters, soils, foods, air, and discharge permits, that treat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) as a class of compounds and regulate their total to be protective of the most vulnerable populations. This is critically necessary to spare further damage to the physical and mental development of the next generation.

Merrimack, NH ( by Laurene Allen)

An active industrial PFAS user in Merrimack, NH is the identified responsible party for drinking water contamination for public and private wells in my home town and 5 additional communities. State investigation with the assistance of the EPA has identified the presence of 190 PFAS in air stack testing and 34 PFAS compounds in water samples. While thousands of residents have been exposed to multiple PFAS chemicals for up to 2 decades, the lengthy process of toxicological profiles approaches this chemical class individually. NH’s investigation counts on the federal government’s guidance and our residents’ exposure to a full panel of PFAS in drinking water must be acknowledged.

Everywhere we look, we see health issues known to be associated with PFAS exposure in our impacted communities, with countless family stories of significant harm. Children with rare cancers, reproductive health disruptions, neurobehavioral and autoimmune disorders have not

been counted in my community and surrounding areas known to be contaminated with PFAS chemicals. Adults with multiple and unexpected health conditions have not received answers to their questions of whether PFAS exposure could be the reason they have been struggling. I believe my family’s health has been altered by our long term exposure to PFAS in our drinking water and environment.

It is not conscionable for the CDC/ATSDR to engage in the endless task of individual PFAS toxicological profiles as health impacts are consistently found to exist for each compound. Merrimack and 5 surrounding communities have significant environmental contamination that will never go away, people deserve the information that both they and their physicians need. The work of the ATSDR must reflect the true PFAS exposure communities with drinking water contamination are consuming. We need you to put together the science for PFAS as a class to justify an end to the presence of toxic chemicals in our water sources so we can make our communities whole again.

Warminster/Horsham, PA ( by Joanne Stanton and Hope Grosse)

Nearly 100,000 area residents living in close proximity to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham, PA and/or the Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster in Warminster, PA were exposed to PFAS and many other hazardous substances released from the Naval Bases into public and private drinking water wells since the early 1970s. Area residents are concerned about the health effects their families have suffered or will suffer as a result of the exposure.

We are two concerned mothers that formed a non-profit advocacy group after PFAS was detected in our local drinking water at some of the highest levels ever found in the country. Too many area residents have seen loved ones, including our own children, die from cancer or suffer other chronic illnesses as a result of drinking DOD contaminated water for decades.
Like many other communities across the country we have been left alone to deal with the health effects of PFAS and far too many unanswered questions about our exposures. Mothers have been especially hard hit dealing with insurmountable guilt. Did we unknowingly expose our babies to PFAS through the umbilical cord or our breast milk? Did PFAS cause my child’s cancer or other chronic illness? With increased cancer rates locally in both adults and children and groundwater levels of PFAS still at levels 4,000 times EPAs HAL, we need action! How can the EPA and ATSDR continually turn a blind eye to much of the PFAS science conducted by top federal scientists at the NIH? Choosing instead to hide behind ongoing political agendas. Sadly, the combined and cumulative effects of this class of chemicals has never been studied leaving us completely in the dark with regards to the full extent of our health effects. It is time for ATSDR to step up to the plate and publicly establish the science behind this entire class of chemicals and fulfill its mission to protect the health of the American people and an exposed community’s right to know!

Brevard County, Florida (by Stel Bailey)

Patrick Air Force Base is one of the nation’s military installations most severely impacted by PFAS contamination. Wells on Patrick Air Force Base tested at 4.3 million ppt of PFOA and PFOS. Families were devastated to learn that PFAS and other hazardous substances were in the water. Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center utilized AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam), which entered our water. In 2016, scientists measured these chemicals at the highest levels ever found in alligators, dolphins, manatees, and mullet. Through our crowdsourcing efforts, which began in 2014, we collected 800 cancer cases in one zip code (32937) directly next to Patrick Air Force Base. These health concerns were brought to light in 2018 by Dr. Julie Greenwalt, an oncologist and cancer survivor. She attended the high school next to the base that had at least 56 graduates diagnosed with cancer within a few years of one another. The area had a cancer cluster investigation in the 90s with 27 cases of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At that time, Dr. Richard Clapp, a former director of the Massachusetts state cancer registry who studied more than 1,000 cancer cases, said that the cancer cluster was one of the most striking in U.S. medical history. My family was personally affected in 2013 when my uncle, little brother, the family dog, father, and I were diagnosed with rare blood cancers. Dr. Greenwalt’s concerns combined with our crowdsourced medical information resulted in another cancer cluster study in 2019, where the Department of Health concluded that cancer rates are high in Brevard County, FL, but cannot explain why. It would benefit our military service members, their families, and surrounding communities if we had more protective and legally enforceable PFAS standards. It’s time for ATSDR to step up and protect the health of our communities by regulating this entire class of dangerous chemicals.

Oscoda, Michigan (by Anthony M. Spaniola)

Oscoda, Michigan is the home of the first publicly reported PFAS contamination site in Michigan and the first publicly reported U.S. military PFAS contamination site in the world. The contamination stems from the use of AFFF fire fighting foam at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Since Michigan regulatory officials discovered the contamination in 2010, public health officials have issued five separate public health warnings for the Oscoda area, comprised of (1) a “Do Not Eat” fish warning for a 9 mile stretch of the Au Sable River (which flows directly into nearby Lake Huron); (2) a “Do Not Drink” water warning for residential water wells serving approximately 3,000 people; (3) a “Do Not Eat” venison warning for deer harvested within a five mile radius of the former base; (4) a “Do Not Come Into Contact” warning for highly contaminated surface water foam on a large inland lake; and (5) a “Do Not Eat” warning for all small game and semi aquatic wildlife in a beautiful marsh near the former base. People in Oscoda have been exposed for decades to a PFAS cocktail containing far more than the four PFAS chemicals for which Provisional Minimal Risk Levels have been recommended. As new lives are being brought into this world every day, and as new PFAS chemicals are added regularly to the already large PFAS class, we simply cannot wait for a one-at-a-time review. For our families, for our children and for future generations, it is time to act now, and to act decisively, on the entire class of PFAS chemicals. That’s why my group, Need Our Water (NOW), wholeheartedly supports and joins the National PFAS Contamination Coalition in calling for a Provisional Minimal Risk Level of 1 part per trillion, or less, for the entire class of PFAS chemicals

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PFAS Exposures Will Continue Under EPA Plan, Communities Warn

Communities affected by toxic drinking water and PFAS exposure agree that EPA PFAS Action Plan does nothing for communities that have been contaminated without consent for decades.

For immediate release: February 14, 2019 1:00pm

Media contacts:

Andrea Amico, Testing for Pease (Portsmouth, NH)
(978) 549-9122

Emily Donovan, Clean Cape Fear (Leland, NC)
(704) 491-6635

Loreen Hackett, #PFOAProjectNY (Hoosick Falls, NY)
(518) 892-5913

Kristen Mello, Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (Westfield, MA)
(413) 433-4505

Diane Cotter, Your Turnout Gear and PFOA (Ringe, NH)
(508) 769-9869

Philadelphia, PA. — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its PFAS Action Plan amidst a flurry of press conferences around the country, and the people impacted by the toxic contamination across the nation are saying it fails to prevent current and future exposure to PFAS in the environment.

PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are man-made chemicals that are linked to kidney disorders, reproductive cancers, autoimmune disorders and more. The chemicals are estimated to be in the drinking water of at least 110 million Americans.

Local leaders from contaminated communities from across the country, working together through the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, say the plan is woefully inadequate for those that have been suffering from exposure to contamination for decades.

“My family and community in Merrimack, New Hampshire continues to endure active exposure to toxic PFAS substances via air emissions and contaminated water,” said Laurene Allen of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water. “The EPA has chosen to allow this to continue despite being an EPA-identified contamination site for three years and the known harm of the PFAS chemical class.”

“Comments we heard today such as ‘in process’, ‘committed to’, and ‘very soon’ we have now heard for years,” added Loreen Hackett of #PFOAProjectNY. “Babies are still being born today contaminated from exposed mothers, facing diseases that will last a lifetime. Two decades of information and the solid science, which includes the recent CDC report, absolutely showing lowering risk levels is necessary to be protective of health, isn’t enough to yet set MCLs? It’s insulting to all of us exposed. Woefully inadequate is an understatement.”

“Our efforts began in this issue after the discovery of PFOA used in firefighter turnout gear, we soon learned there are no regulations for textiles. The end user of the Turnout Gear, the first responders, have had no idea of chemical content or amounts used to coat their specialized gear. These PFAS laden textiles are degrading in landfills and make their way to waterways,” said Diane Cotter of Your Turnout Gear and PFOA. “We now maintain a growing list of municipal and rural fire stations that are contaminated with PFOA and PFOS thought to be from AFFF training and storage. We fear we are only seeing the tip of the spear.”

The National PFAS Contamination Coalition envisions a world where people are no longer exposed to PFAS in their drinking water and their environment, where poisoned people’s health is protected, where there is justice for past harms and deaths caused by PFAS and that regulations are in place so that nothing like this happens again. Leaders from impacted communities are calling on the EPA to immediately adopt a national enforceable drinking water standard of 1 part per trillion for combined total concentration of all PFAS that is health protective for infants, children, and vulnerable populations.

“The EPA Plan falls short of meaningful action to help communities that are suffering. It’s unacceptable that they’re only addressing a couple of chemicals, which is not looking at the broad range of the PFAS Class,” said Andrea Amico of Testing for Pease. “The reality is that many communities are exposed to multiple PFAS in their drinking water and the EPA needs to address these compounds as a class to fully address the contamination people are exposed to when they turn on their taps.”

“The hazardous substance designation has been discussed for decades,” said Arnie Leriche of Need Our Water (NOW). “The EPA and Department of Defence must add more money in the budget to adequately address remediation, which will bring help to these communities.”

“While we appreciate the work that went into this document, and the future actions it promises, today’s announcement changes nothing for PFAS victims in Westfield,” said Kristen Mello of Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves.

“EPA does not propose any substantive actions to prevent the continued production and use of PFAS – in fact, over the last decade, EPA has registered and approved the use of more than 600 new forms of PFAS,” said Laura Olah, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger. “We cannot stop the flood of PFAS until EPA turns off the tap.”

Linda Almazon from the Environmental Justice Task Force in Arizona states, “We express our strongest opposition to this proposal. It is immoral and unacceptable to Tucsonans, that EPA would put us in such a position, that poses a public health hazard to our residents, particularly our children,. EPA needs to stop putting corporate profits before the health of Americans.”

“Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler’s ‘Announcement of the First-Ever Comprehensive Nationwide PFAS Action Plan’ gets an ‘F’ for failure,” said Sue Phelan of GreenCAPE. “Failure to establish a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for PFAS and failure to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance. Failure to define a cleanup strategy. The Plan made no provisions for protecting our communities today. We expected-and deserve-much more from the EPA. Show us the Action Plan!”

“What is the timeline? Where are dates?” asks Hope Grosse, Bucks-Mont People for Clean Water. “PFAS is not safe, why isn’t it being declared a hazardous chemical? This action plan is a disgrace and unacceptable. We will not sit around and wait.”

“Unfortunately, this plan doesn’t do anything for the quarter of a million residents in Southeastern North Carolina who use the Lower Cape Fear River as their primary source of drinking water,” said Emily Donovan of Clean Cape Fear. “99% of Wilmington residents tested have Nafion byproduct 2, a long-chain PFAS with zero available health data or scientific research, in their blood and nothing Trump’s EPA proposed today will address our concerns or fears. DuPont, now Chemours, has proven through decades of irresponsible leadership they are ill-equipped to self regulate. We need Trump’s EPA and our congressional leaders to take a bold stand against morally inept companies like DuPont and Chemours.”

“What about the communities who have been exposed for decades? And what about the thousands of other PFAS chemicals beyond PFOS and PFOA?” asked Mary Jones of Toxics Action Center. “As an ally from the Coalition, we believe EPA needs to be listening to the communities at the front lines of this public health crisis.”

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The National PFAS Contamination Coalition is a network of communities who have been impacted by PFAS contamination, formed to support local community groups responding to pollution in their cities and towns and to work together for national change. PFAS-impacted communities should request to join the Coalition at pfasproject.net/join

Additional Media Contacts:

Laurene Allen, Merrimack Citizens for Safe Water (Merrimack, NH)
alaurene@gmail.com
(603) 494-8395

Laura Olah, Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (Merrimac, WI)
info@cswab.org, CSWAB.org
(608)643-3124

Sue Phelan, GreenCAPE (West Barnstable, MA)
suephelan@comcast.net
508.494.0276

Hope Grosse, Bucks-Mont People for Clean Water (Warminster, PA)
267-253-3985

Linda Robles, Environmental Justice Task Force (Tucson, AZ)
lindarobles39@gmail.com
518-268-9266

Arnie Leriche, Need Our Water Now (Oscoda, MI)
aleriche526@gmail.com

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National PFAS Contamination Coalition Statement on Incineration of PFAS

The National PFAS Contamination Coalition strongly opposes the incineration of PFAS-contaminated wastes and collected PFAS products as incineration and other similar thermal treatment technologies and facilities have not been specifically permitted to treat PFAS nor have they been demonstrated to destroy PFAS, ie reducing it to carbon, fluoride salts and/or other constituents. We also object to placing collected PFAS product in landfills which can readily leak PFAS to the surrounding environment.  Instead, collected PFAS product should remain stored within each state until safe alternatives to incineration are in place and fully operational. 

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Contamination Victims Journey to Capital Seeking Help from Senate

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For Immediate Release: September 25, 2018

Contact Information​:

CONTAMINATION VICTIMS JOURNEY TO CAPITAL SEEKING HELP FROM SENATE

Contamination from Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) affects more than 16 Million Americans and, as more and more sources of PFAS pollution are revealed, that number is rising. Scientifically linked to harmful diseases in humans such as cancer, these extremely toxic compounds have contaminated: air, ground & surface waters; soils & agricultural products, fish & shellfish; and human beings all across our country and the world. PFAS are difficult to break down and accumulate in the environment and our bodies for years.

Members of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition are heading to the nation’s capital to attend the first Senate hearing on PFAS, “The Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis”, scheduled for 2:30PM in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight & Emergency Management. This Senate hearing comes on the heels of the September 6th hearing held by the House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment. Additionally, several EPA Regional PFAS Community Engagement Events were held this summer, and toxicological profiles for PFAS were released by the ATSDR in June.

When asked why they would take the time away from family and work, Coalition members said:

“We can’t undo decades of drinking toxic water or the tax it has taken on veterans and our communities health. But we can do the right thing now, and that means holding polluters accountable and restoring safe drinking water for every community affected,” said Arnie Leriche Community Co-Chair of the Wurtsmith Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), and member of NOW (Need Our Water) in Oscoda, MI, and one of the community leaders testifying at the hearing.

“We want to show that we are real people; we are real families who have been impacted by this widespread contamination,” said Andrea Amico of Testing for Pease in Portsmouth, NH, another impacted resident testifying at the hearing. “We want our government officials to understand what our needs are and what we need from them to help us solve this nation wide problem. It is critical our government prioritize public health by taking swift and meaningful action to help so many exposed to these contaminants.”

“When a disaster happens, you don’t just sit back, let people deal with the aftermaths and hope it doesn’t happen again—you do something about it,” said Cody Angell of Michigan Demands Action Against Contamination based in Belmont, MI. “Everyday Michiganders are waking up to news headlines. Headlines reading about new contaminated sites being found with record-setting levels of PFC’s being found in their lakes, rivers and drinking water. With the world’s largest fresh surface water in our backyard, we should be doing everything we can to protect our most vital resource. Water is Life. ”

“Merrimack is just one of countless communities identified in 40 states and as victims of this chemical crisis. We don’t just bear the pain of our losses and health struggles, but also the cost of bottled water, water filtration systems, medical bills and chronic stress, depression and anxiety,” said Laurene Allen of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water in Merrimack, NH. She said she traveled to Washington D.C. in order to begin a partnership with Congress to work together for solutions. She added, “We cannot change the past, but I know we have the ability to do better and together we must make America safe again.”

“The U.S. Air Force and the state of Michigan need to fully participate in the remediation of the substances and provide a long-term solution for clean drinking water,” NOW (Need Our Water) member, Cathy Wusterbarth said. “MPART was established to be the main resource for PFAS information, but we’re still having to go to all the agencies separately to obtain current and accurate information.”

“My father and cousins, one a Vietnam veteran, died of kidney cancer and I have a 14-year-old cousin who had to receive a kidney transplant last year,” said Mark Favors of Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition in Colorado Springs, CO. “Peterson Air Force Base admitted polluting our drinking water for decades. These toxic chemicals are scientifically linked to kidney disorders, cancers, immune response, reproductive disorders, and so much more. We need to stop this contamination crisis now—once and for all!”

“Our pollution sources are all different and unique, yet our needs are the same,” said Kristen Mello of Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (WRAFT) in Westfield, MA, who also traveled to DC to call for urgent action in her home state and across the country. “This is a decades-long, slow-motion unfolding, environmental and public health disaster requiring a comprehensive and coordinated response.”

Residents in communities suffering from PFAS contamination need our federal government to respond to the “Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis” as the emergency it is:

➢ providing safe drinking water, medical care and monitoring for victims;

➢ ending current PFAS discharges;

➢ determining the extent of PFAS contamination by testing blood, surface waters & groundwater, fresh & saltwater fish & shellfish, and soils & agricultural products;

➢ remediating contamination sites;

➢ recovering costs from PFAS polluters; and

➢ preventing this from ever happening again.

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For more information about the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, visit https://pfasproject.net/

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National PFAS Contamination Coalition Statement Re: Pruitt’s resignation  

National PFAS Contamination Coalition Statement Re: Pruitt’s resignation  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2018

Contact: Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center, 802-922-4780

In response to the news that Administrator Pruitt is resigning, The National PFAS Contamination Coalition issues the following statements:

“This coalition is here to send a message that no matter who’s in charge at EPA, the PFAS crisis impacting drinking water for millions of Americans should be a top priority,” said Shaina Kasper, Vermont and New Hampshire State Director at Toxics Action Center, the New England-wide public health and environmental non-profit.

“We call on incoming administrator Andrew Wheeler to take the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission seriously and take a strong path of action pertaining to the PFAS crisis in our country,” said Cathy Wusterbarth, a community leader of Need Our Water (NOW) in Oscoda Michigan.

It is great news for Americans who care about ethics in government that Administrator Pruitt will finally be leaving office. But we need to stay vigilant. There is no reason to believe that his successor will be any less ambitious when it comes to dismantling the rules our children and our communities rely on to keep them safe from harmful pollution,” said Joanne Stanton of Bucks-Mont People for Clean Water in Harleysville, Pennsylvania fighting PFAS drinking water contamination in the region.

“People who have been exposed and continue to be exposed to PFAS contamination will continue to expect the EPA to take a leadership role by holding polluters accountable and by prioritizing public health and the environment through a strong PFAS Management Plan. Impacted communities need much stronger regulations and a 1ppt drinking water standard for total PFAS,” said Andrea Amico of Testing for Pease, a community group fighting PFAS drinking water contamination at the Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

“It is critical that the EPA continue to host regional meetings in all impacted communities this summer to gather direct community input to help form the EPA’s PFAS Management Plan,”  said Susan Gordon of Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition, of Colorado Springs, who is currently working with the regional EPA office to finalize the plan for their Regional EPA PFAS meeting August 7-8.

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Residents Of Poisoned Communities Nationwide Demand A Seat At The Table With EPA

Residents Of Poisoned Communities Nationwide Demand A Seat At The Table With EPA

Communities affected by PFAS in drinking water demand to be included in decisions on cleanup and regulation

For immediate release: May 22, 2018

Note: Images from around the country are below.

Media contacts:

Shaina Kasper
Shaina@toxicsaction.org
(802) 922-4780

Washington, D.C. — Today kicks off the the EPA’s National Leadership Summit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Washington D.C., and a national coalition of communities who are dealing with the toxic crisis in their drinking water are demanding to be heard.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt convened the summit to bring together stakeholders to take action on PFAS, the family of chemicals found in non-stick, waterproof and stain resistant products, firefighting foam, and the drinking water of nearly 16 million people in 33 states. Representatives from state government, environmental agencies and national environmental groups across the country were invited to attend. Conspicuously absent are representatives from communities that are suffering from PFAS water contamination.

In light of last week’s news that White House staff and the EPA actively worked to suppress the release of a key study on the health effects of PFAS, community leaders from the National PFAS Contamination Coalition took to social media today using the hashtags #SeatAtTheTable and #PFAS to pressure the agency into being more transparent.

“Last week, we learned that the EPA suppressed a PFAS study. This week, they’re convening a summit on PFAS, and, out of millions affected, only ONE of us is allowed to attend on only ONE day to bear witness. How are we supposed to trust anything about this?” asked Kristen Mello, co-founder of Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves (WRAFT), a group in Westfield, MA, working on PFAS water contamination in their town. “It’s our water and our bodies that are contaminated, and will remain so for years to come. We deserve to be part of the solution, and we deserve to see that study.”

So far, over 36 communities in 10 states have shared why they need a seat at the table through the campaign. Residents of PFAS contaminated communities in Alaska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Michigan, Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin are sharing why they need to be included. And the number is still growing.

“We drank polluted water for years without knowing it. Now it’s time for transparency,” said Laurene Allen, of the PFAS-focused community group Citizens for Clean Water in Merrimack, NH. “We want to know exactly how the EPA plans to clean up this public health catastrophe and we want to be part of the solution.”

There are no enforceable federal regulations on PFAS contamination and many experts believe that the EPA’s standards for how much of the chemicals can be in drinking water are too high. While the EPA found that 70 parts per trillion (ppt) is a safe level for PFAS in drinking water, states like Vermont have set their standards at 20 ppt. The study that the EPA suppressed is expected to reveal that standards should be even lower.

“It’s our water that’s contaminated and it’s our health that’s at risk,” said Emily Donovan from Clean Cape Fear in North Carolina. “The science being done and the policies being created are really about us, our health, and our communities, and we deserve a seat at the table.”

“In the United States, we pride ourselves on our democratic process. That means communities on the front lines need to have a seat at the table, always,” said Shaina Kasper, Water Program Director at Toxics Action Center.

The National PFAS Contamination Coalition is a network of impacted communities that formed last year. The group coordinated the social media action and is encouraging impacted communities across the country to participate by sharing why they need to be included in decisions on PFAS.

“The communities most affected by the science and policies should be centered in — not excluded from — the efforts to understand, remediate, and regulate these dangerous chemicals.” said Arnie Leriche as Community Co-Chair, Wurtsmith RAB in Oscoda, MI. “We demand to be part of the discussion that will affect our health, our water and our families for generations to come. It’s shocking to be left out.”

Toxics Action Center works side-by-side with communities to prevent or clean up pollution in New England. Learn more at http://www.toxicsaction.org.

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Federal Legislation for Funding for a National Health Study

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National PFAS Health Study 
(*Scheduled to be VOTED on early September!)

Since the Haven well was shut down in 2014 due to highly elevated levels of PFASs detected in the drinking water, Testing for Pease has fought for answers related to any possible health effects related to these highly persistent and bioaccumulative substances.  There are several New Hampshire communities and other communities across the nation that are facing PFAS water contamination. Many of these communities surround active or closed military installations similar to Pease and PFAS water contamination has become a national, public health issue that needs ongoing attention.

Testing for Pease is dedicated to advocating for more answers to our health related questions and concerns and clean, safe drinking water for our community and others across the US.  Legislative action is a critical component in safeguarding our water sources and protecting our health from pollutants. Our NH Congressional Delegation (Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster), have co-sponsored legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (for Fiscal Year 2018) that would authorize the Department of Defense to fund a national health study for those impacted by PFAS chemicals at military installations. This study will help provide critical information for ALL people exposed to PFASs and bring future hopes of policy that will not only protect our drinking water, but will ultimately help protect us and our most vulnerable population – children.

Our work over the last few years has led us to build positive relationships with our state and federal legislators to raise awareness about the environmental issues and challenges that our communities are facing. As passionate and committed citizens, together we have joined forces with other community leaders across the US to make an impact on bringing awareness to the health and environmental impacts that PFAS chemicals have on our drinking water.  We feel strongly that engaging our elected officials at the federal level is a critical way to protect and maintain healthy, quality water sources for our families.

WITH THAT COMMON OBJECTIVE IN MIND, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We hope that you will join our efforts by signing on to a letter of support for a national health study. With the use of a crowd-sourcing tool, we have made this process fairly easy for you! Based on your location, the tool auto-populates the email address of the federal officials who represent your area. The body of the email is pre-populated with a support letter we drafted. All you need to do is click here to begin, personalize your letter where indicated and hit submit–that’s it!

   We need to let our federal legislators know how important this national study will be in helping to identify possible adverse health outcomes as a result of our exposure and by contributing to the ongoing and evolving science of human health effects as a result of PFAS exposures. The results of this study will be a critical next step in protecting our families by providing us with the data we need to make proactive choices about our health.


IN CASE YOU WOULD RATHER SEND YOUR OWN LETTERS, THE LINKS BELOW WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE LETTER TEMPLATES AND THE APPROPRIATE CONTACTS TO ASK OUR FEDERAL REGULATORS TO SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

  • Please use THIS LIST to contact the Senators in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia, Colorado, California and Washington and their appropriate staff to let them know why they should vote in support of the following NDAA bills/amendments and request the appropriations for their funding (*These legislators are especially important because these states have many communities impacted by PFAS.)

NDAA – Senate (S.1519): The CDC/ATSDR will commence a study on the human health implications of per- and polyfluoroalkyl
substances (PFAS) contamination in drinking water, ground water, and any other sources of water and relevant exposure vectors,
including the cumulative human health implications of multiple types of PFAS contamination at levels above and below health advisory levels.

Letter Writing Template (Senator)

*Also sending your letters to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee is important so that funding is secured to implement the study:
A list of those members can be found HERE.

NDAA – House (H.R.2810): This bill will carry out a study on any health effects experienced by individuals who are exposed to perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid from firefighting foam used at military installations or former military installations, including exposure through a well that provides water for human consumption that the Secretary determines is contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid from such firefighting foam.

Letter Writing Template (Representative)

Thank you for making your voice heard…..

TOGETHER WE HAVE & CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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Community Groups Across the Country Speak Out for Health Protective PFAS Drinking Water Standards following Saint-Gobain Dropping Lawsuit Against the State of Vermont.

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Montpelier, Vt. — The multinational corporation Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics agreed to dismiss the lawsuit against the State of Vermont challenging the perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) groundwater standards. This new agreement between the State of Vermont and the potentially responsible company to uphold the state’s more stringent groundwater standards follows growing scientific evidence and escalating community concern regarding the toxicity of these chemicals even at very small concentrations.

In 2016, PFOA contamination was discovered in the groundwater and drinking water supply wells in the vicinity of the former Saint-Gobain manufacturing plant in North Bennington, Vermont, leading to the state of Vermont to designate a groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, both toxic perfluorinated carbons known collectively under the umbrella acronym PFAS.

“The fact that the state of Vermont was sued because they were trying to protect their residents from getting sick from contaminated drinking water just shows how broken our chemical system is,” said Shaina Kasper, Vermont State Director with Toxics Action Center, a public health non-profit working with community groups facing the PFAS drinking water contamination.“We need to close the loopholes in our chemical use regulations, including national enforceable drinking water standards that are science-based for infants, children, and vulnerable populations, and for combined total of all PFAS. And in the meantime, we need to support state-level change for more health protective drinking water standards, and to close the loopholes in state chemical use so that this type of contamination doesn’t happen in the first place.”

“We also need a national campaign to demand answers about PFOA replacement chemicals to ensure that history is not allowed to repeat itself,” added Joe Kiger from Keep Your Promises Dupont a community group based in the Ohio River Valley fighting PFAS contamination and the subject of the documentary film The Devil We Know.

“Having Saint-Gobain dismiss this lawsuit in Vermont has huge ramifications for not just Vermont’s drinking water, but for community groups in New Hampshire, the rest of the United States, and the world,” said Andrea Amico, leader of the community group Testing for Pease. “We’ve been fighting here in New Hampshire for lower drinking water standards for the PFAS chemicals and the drop of this lawsuit marks a significant precedent for stronger PFAS regulations nationally.”

“While it is encouraging that the State of Vermont’s health guideline for PFOA and PFOS is no longer being challenged, there are lingering concerns,” said Dr. Laurel Schaider from Silent Spring Institute. “Recent studies suggest that lower levels of PFOA in drinking water may affect children’s immune systems and mammary gland development. We also know that there are over 3,000 PFAS chemicals on the global market, and most have never been tested for their impact on human health.”

“Ultimately, we need to move away from a chemical-by-chemical regulation and to a chemical class approach,” added Dr. Phil Brown from Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute which has been researching the social discovery of this contamination. The narrow reach of this action also highlights the need for more comprehensive, precautionary chemical regulation capable of thoroughly evaluating classes of chemicals, and raises important questions about how classes of chemicals are delimited in environmental health science and regulation.”

In addition to filing the lawsuit against the state, Saint-Gobain also had a sheriff serve court summons to a number of Bennington residents who provided written comments on the new state drinking water health advisory level of 20ppt which said “You are being sued. The plaintiff has started a lawsuit against you.” While Saint-Gobain argued that this summons was not in fact suing residents but just the state of Vermont, the theatrics of the lawsuit do not go overlooked by those opposed to the corporate bullying.

“The lawsuit centered on Saint-Gobain’s challenge of Vermont’s groundwater enforcement standard of 20 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, which the company alleged was ‘not supportable by science,’” said Lizzie Tisher, staff attorney at the Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. “There is more than an adequate scientific basis supporting Vermont’s standard, and this lawsuit only delayed efforts to bring clean, safe drinking water to North Bennington. We hope this marks the beginning of Saint-Gobain working closely with concerned residents and the state to fully extend the municipal water line.”

This announcement comes just days after the State of Vermont came to a settlement agreement with the company Saint-Gobain to get a municipal water line extension for 200 of the residents in the North Bennington, Vermont area, many with drinking water contamination from PFOA and PFOS.

“It’s encouraging to me, as someone who lives in a city impacted by this type of contamination, to know that there are state leaders in Vermont taking a strong stand to protect their people’s water supply.” said Mary Ann Babinski, City Councilor in Westfield, Massachusetts and a member of the community group Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (WRAFT).  “It is my hope that other leaders will take notice and follow this example. Our government should respond quickly and be proactive about this serious situation, to make sure they protect the people they govern. It is their responsibility to uphold people’s rights to clean water, no ifs ands or buts about it.”

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To learn more about the PFAS contamination crisis, and to see information from a national PFAS conference held June 14-15 in Boston,please visit

PFASProject.comTo learn more about the impacts of PFAS on human health, see PFASHealth.info

To learn more about the community groups facing PFAS contamination in their communities, and to take action, see PFASProject.net

Take action here: actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-need-enforceable-pfas-drinking-water-standards

CONTACT:

Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center 802-922-4780

Mindi Messmer, New Hampshire State Legislator, 603-498-8847

Andrea Amico, Testing for Pease, 978-549-9122

Jeff Dugas, Keep Your Promises Dupont, 304-566-9841