U.S. Senator Gary Peters Proposes PFAS Legislation to Help Address PFAS Contamination

U.S. Senator Gary Peters is introducing legislation in Washington help the federal government’s response to PFAS contamination. The senator is introducing legislation to direct federal agencies to work together and come up with a joint report on understanding PFAS contamination.

The toxic chemicals have been detected in air and water – and even food and soil. PFAS contamination can lead to cancers, kidney and liver issues, and reproductive and developmental problems. Sen. Peters says, “One thing that has become clear to me is that we have to have a coordinated approach to studying PFAS to have a better understanding of how it impacts our health, how it impacts the environment, and how to actually clean up these sites.”

Senator Peters Job Report“There have been a number of federal agencies that have been working on this issue for the last few years. Agencies like the EPA, the Dept. of Defense. But what has been clear to me is that it’s not being done in a coordinated fashion,” Sen. Peters says. “What will happen as a result of this legislation is: One, we’ll save taxpayer money. Because we aren’t going to be duplicating studies that don’t need to be duplicated. And Two: we’re going to be able to solve the problem, or at least have an idea how to solve the problem a whole lot quicker.”

The bipartisan legislation would result in four nonpartisan reports identifying the research needed to understand human exposure to PFAS, and identify treatment options for PFAS contamination.

The bill is now before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, on which Peters sits.

From Senator Peters:

(This) bipartisan legislation to help advance the federal government’s understanding of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and provide needed information to help better inform plans to effectively address PFAS contamination – which has impacted communities in Michigan and across the country.

PFAS chemicals have been detected in our air, water, food, and soil, and can lead to serious health effects including cancer, low infant birthweight, liver and kidney issues, and reproductive and developmental problems. However, much remains unknown about these harmful substances, including their specific levels of toxicity, impacts on human and environmental health, pathways to exposure, and effective methods of removal, treatment, and destruction. Such information is necessary to inform regulatory action and implement successful cleanup efforts, but current federal research efforts are fragmented and have struggled to address the full scope of the threats posed by PFAS chemicals. Peters’ Federal PFAS Research Evaluation Act, which he introduced with U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), would require that the federal agencies with expertise related to PFAS work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on a consensus study to help inform decisions by the federal government, state government, key stakeholders and partners on how to best address PFAS contamination.

Peters’ legislation would direct the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), in coordination with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Secretary of Defense, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and heads of other federal agencies with expertise on PFAS substances to enter into an agreement with the National Academies to study and report on a federal research agenda that would advance the understanding of PFAS substances. The bill would result in four nonpartisan, consensus reports identifying the research needed to understand human exposure and toxicity estimations of PFAS, and identify management and treatment options for PFAS contamination.