New PFAS Legislation Will Have Big Impact on Litigation

Posted by on June 3, 2019

Recently, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate held separate legislative hearings to address potential health and environmental impacts of pre-/polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

On May 15, 2019, the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing to consider a series of bills aimed at reducing potential environmental and health risks associated with PFAS chemicals. Likewise, on May 22, 2019 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works met to discuss risks relevant to PFAS chemicals. Together, the Congressional lawmakers convened to discuss a total of 19 bills aimed at regulating the manufacture, use, clean-up, and testing of PFAS.

For example, both the House and Senate proposed legislation that will designate all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances within one-year of enactment. Similarly, representatives from both houses proposed a strong, enforceable drinking water standard for all PFAS, as well as an amendment to existing Safe Drinking Water Act requiring the EPA to set maximum contaminant levels for PFAS chemicals. Other legislation proposed a ban of new and existing PFAS, standards for safe disposal of PFAS, labeling for articles containing PFAS, and comprehensive health testing of all PFAS. A summary of all 19 bills can be downloaded below.

During both hearings, several committee members and witnesses (including government officials, interest groups, and academics) urged swift EPA action. Others favored a more measured and scientific approach, questioning whether all PFAS should be treated as if they pose the same risk and wanting experts from the EPA to weigh in on the proposed bills. Members of the EPA were not invited to participate in either hearing.

It is important to note, that these bills are only in the early stages of the legislative process. The next step requires each committee to amend and approve their proposed legislation before sending it to the House and Senate as a whole for a vote. No timeline was given for any of these actions.

Innovative Science Solutions continues to follow this ongoing story and the science surrounding PFAS. As we have discussed previously, PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment and they have considerable persistence. Lawyers representing PFAS-related companies should maintain an awareness of regulatory and science updates for product stewardship and PFAS-inspired litigation.

DOWNLOAD FREE SUMMARY OF PFAS LEGISLATION

Download a complimentary summary of proposed PFAS legislation.

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