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Get these “forever chemicals” out of our food and water

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What’s At Stake

Every day millions of people across the country are exposed to food and drinking water contaminated with PFAS, a class of some 5,000 toxic chemicals that the federal government has failed to regulate. And yet, no enforceable rules exist to protect our families from these “forever chemicals.” This must change, right now.

PFAS are man-made toxic chemicals first developed during efforts to create the atomic bomb now used in everyday products such as waterproof jackets, nonstick pans, food wrappers, and personal care products. They persist in the environment, readily spread from sources of contamination, and can remain in bodies for decades, which is why they are known as “forever chemicals.” They’ve been linked to serious medical problems, including cancer, infertility, and impaired fetal development.

For decades, chemical manufacturers such as 3M and DuPont knew that exposure to PFAS was linked with serious health harms, but hid the truth from their workers, fenceline communities, and regulators. Even after the EPA learned about the dangers, it failed to take action. Rather than doing what is needed, EPA recently issued a toothless “action plan.” But this “plan” fails to promise that it will take the necessary steps to ensure our drinking water is safe or notify communities when PFAS are released in their backyards.

The EPA’s proposed “action plan” falls far short of what is needed to protect our communities and workers. For far too long, real people have been left in the dark and unprotected while polluters have released toxic PFAS into our water and air.

We can’t let chemical manufacturers continue to release these “forever chemicals,” poisoning ourselves and our families. Tell the EPA to take real action and end ongoing pollution from PFAS chemicals!

Some 110 million Americans have been exposed to PFAS through drinking tainted water.
REAL444/Getty Images

Some 110 million Americans have been exposed to PFAS through drinking tainted water.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.