Today, U.S. Reps. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), and Antonio Delgado (D-NY) led a bipartisan group of representatives in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, urging it to take swift action to close reporting loopholes for the 179 per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals listed on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).
“Families have a right to know the specific details and amounts of PFAS chemicals released into their communities, but they are too often left in the dark due to the existing loopholes,” said Earthjustice Legislative Counsel Christine Santillana. “EPA must act quickly to close these reporting loopholes so communities, regulators, and researchers have concrete data about where, and in what volumes, these toxic chemicals are being released and can better hold polluters accountable. We thank this bipartisan group of congressional leaders for recognizing the gravity of the situation and urging EPA to act without delay.”
The FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) mandated the inclusion of certain PFAS chemicals on the TRI so that the EPA, federal agencies, and the public have access to information on the amount of PFAS being released in the U.S. each year. Currently, the way EPA has codified the TRI-listed PFAS into law allows polluting industries certain exemptions to underreport PFAS releases or avoid reporting them entirely. Though the EPA plans to address this, the agency is behind schedule, leaving communities and the agency with faulty reporting data.
“As you know, PFAS are bioaccumulative and take decades to break down in our bodies and in the environment,” the members wrote in their letter. “PFAS have been linked to cancers, impaired fetal development, low birth weight, high blood pressure, and other adverse health effects. Contamination is pervasive throughout the United States and communities deserve to know where these chemicals are in proximity to their homes and families. We urge you to immediately take action to close these reporting loopholes.”
Read the full letter.