Lawmakers say EPA isn’t following through with agreement

HealthBeat

It’s been one year since the EPA announced it would take action on PFAS–a group of cancer causing chemicals present in nearly every community in America.

But as Washington D.C. bureau reporter Joe Khalil explains — lawmakers in Washington say the agency has failed to followed through.

Congressman Harley Rouda says the environmental protection agency isn’t doing nearly enough to curb the effects of PFAS–chemicals linked to certain forms of cancer.

“Around 97% of Americans have levels of PFAS in their system,” Rouda said.

Rouda says the EPA should establish strict rules to limit how much and how often manufacturers can emit PFAS chemicals.

“If we don’t discontinue the dumping and burning, the problem is going to get worse before it gets better,” Rouda said.

He introduced a bill to impose fees on polluters and use that money to fund clean-up efforts.

Thursday the EPA took what Rouda calls a modest step in the right direction –announcing they’re putting limits on two types of PFAS chemicals. but Rouda says it’s been a full year since the agency committed to tackling the problem– without much to show for it.

“The EPA isn’t taking action fast enough,” Rouda said.

The EPA released a statement Thursday– referencing two specific types of PFAS chemicals–
saying quote, “under President Trump’s leadership,EPA is following through on its commitment in the action plan to evaluate PFOA and PFOS.”

“This is long overdue action by the EPA on just two kinds of PFAS chemicals,” Melanie Bensch with the Environment Working Group said.

But Melanie Benesh says those two specific PFAS chemicals have already been largely phased out of use.

“So it doesn’t really incentivize manufacturers to stop. Moreover the burden of cleaning up those chemicals is really going to fall on water utilities,” Benesh said.

Moving forward, Rouda says he’ll continue to pressure the EPA to do its part.

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