Washington, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Ron Kind, along with 26 other members of Congress, helped introduce comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that aims to protect all Americans and our environment from harmful forever chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The package establishes a national drinking water standard for select PFAS chemicals, designates as hazardous to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated sites across the country, as well as list under the Clean Water Act, limits industrial discharges, and provides $200 million annually to assist water utilities and wastewater treatment.  

PFAS is a growing public health and environmental threat with reports showing high levels of these forever chemicals in water across the country, including right here in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. Most recently, PFAS levels above recommended standards were discovered in at least 197 private wells within the Town of Campbell on French Island. The Town is under an interim drinking water advisory as a result of the widespread PFAS contamination. These findings are part of an ongoing investigation of well and groundwater sampling that began in October 2020 after PFAS contamination was found in two City of La Crosse wells.   

“PFAS pose serious and very real risk to human health and our environment—it’s something my neighbors on French Island are dealing with at this very moment— and we need all hands on deck to tackle this growing crisis,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “This legislation will set drinking water standards and designate these chemicals as hazardous to allow the EPA to help clean up contaminated sites in Wisconsin and across the country. As a member of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, I’ll keep working to address PFAS contamination to ensure the health and safety of all Wisconsinites.”  

The PFAS Action Act would do the following to protect our air, land, and water from harmful PFAS contamination:  

  • Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS within two years that protects public health, including the health of vulnerable subpopulations.  
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous substances within one year and requires EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.  
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants within 180 days and requires EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.  
  • Require EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS and provides $200 million annually for wastewater treatment.  
  • Prohibit unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes and places a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce.  
  • Require comprehensive PFAS health testing.  
  • Create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.  
PFAS chemicals are man-made chemicals that have so far been found in the drinking water of more than 2,000 communities. PFAS chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. These chemicals have been linked to harmful human health effects, including cancer, reproductive and developmental harms, and weaken immune systems. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 328 military sites across the United States have PFAS contamination and over 200 million Americans are drinking contaminated water.   

Rep. Kind is a member of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force. During the 116th Congress, Rep. Kind joined 58 of his colleagues in calling for robust funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 spending bill to help communities across Wisconsin address PFAS and ensure clean water. Rep. Kind was also a cosponsor of the PFAS Right to Know Act, which would add PFAS to the TRI Toxic chemicals list and would make it possible to alert communities that are exposed to PFAS so they can take protective action.  

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