This morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing to examine PFAS, a class of fluorinated chemicals that have been used throughout manufacturing since the 1940s due to their unique fat and water repelling properties.
Certain PFAS chemicals were phased out in the early 2000s and are no longer manufactured in the U.S., but more modern versions of these chemicals are still used. These more modern chemicals have a range of different uses for manufacturers (like firefighting foams or electronics manufacturing) and consumers (like nonstick products), and it is important that lingering concerns over their use are examined and addressed. That’s why manufacturers supported recent steps announced by the EPA to do just that and it’s why we will work with the agency to obtain the data and information it needs. Relatedly, rather than turn to overly broad legislation like the recently-introduced “PFAS Action Act of 2019,” which would designate all PFAS chemicals as hazardous, we urge Congress to take a judicious and science-based approach and we look forward to working with lawmakers as they do so.
For manufacturers, our top priority is ensuring that our products are safe for their intended use. We support efforts to determine the safety of PFAS and to increase the level of federal regulation of these chemicals. We are concerned that the PFAS Action Act of 2019 goes a step too far by declaring as hazardous thousands of chemicals for which science either does not exist or is not complete. That is a dangerous precedent that could lead to a number of problems for other chemicals. We think there are better ways for Congress to address concerns over PFAS. For instance, Congress could set a firm deadline for EPA to complete its scientific evaluation of these chemicals and to set standards for their safety. It could increase the number of PFAS chemicals EPA regulates. And it could provide EPA and states more resources to carry out these scientific reviews.
It’s clear Congress is just getting started. We’ll be a constructive voice at the table supporting a solution for consumers and manufacturers that assures the safety of the products we all use.