Dingell, Upton introduce bill to set national PFAS drinking water limit

Toxic Tap Water

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two members of Michigan’s congressional delegation have introduced legislation that would order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS.

The class of chemicals, likely carcinogens, were used for years in everything from Scotchgard to Teflon to airplane firefighting foam. It has been found in drinking water after seeping into the ground and contaminating water sources.

In addition to setting a drinking water standard within two years, the PFAS Action Act of 2021 would outline how contaminated sites are cleaned up, add federal guidelines on how manufacturers discharge PFAS chemicals and provide $200 million each year for clean water utilities and wastewater treatment. It would also require PFAS health testing and create a voluntary label for cookware that contains PFAS.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and has broad bipartisan support.

West Michigan has been at the forefront of the PFAS issue, with large contamination sites near Rockford and in Parchment.

“I got a frantic call from my state senator, who told me about a very contaminated site in a small town in Kalamazoo County, Parchment. And I immediately got on the horn, worked with our sheriff’s department, our first responders, our health department, to literally not waste a minute. I mean, folks went door-to-door that night telling residents to stop using their tap water,” Upton recalled during a virtual press conference Tuesday announcing the bill.

Some 328 military sites across the country have PFAS contamination, often linked to the firefighting foam, and the feds estimate a staggering 200 million Americans may be exposed to contaminated drinking water.

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