WASHINGTON – Today, United States Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) voted to pass H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act of 2019. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals are known to cause certain types of cancer and can adversely impact the development of babies and young children. This critical legislation requires the Environmental Protection Agency to designate all PFAS as hazardous, prohibits the development of new PFAS, and specifically establishes a new contamination safety standard. The bill passed the House of Representatives 247 to 159.
In early 2019, tens of thousands of gallons of firefighting foam – contaminated with PFAS – spilled from Bradley International Airport into the Farmington River. Subsequent tests found the PFAS contamination level on fish from the river to be in excess of 10,000 parts per trillion. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a maximum safety standard of 70 parts per trillion. While the long-term consequences of this spill are still unknown, it is clear urgent action is needed to prevent further contamination of Connecticut communities.
“The science is indisputable: PFAS are a massive health and ecological threat for Connecticut families,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. “As such, the law should reflect this reality. Continuing to allow a forever chemical to proliferate throughout our environment is indefensible. This bill empowers the EPA to fulfill its duty to protect American families from dangerous PFAS. I urge the Senate to act on this important priority as soon as possible.”
There are more than 4,500 PFAS in existence. Consuming these chemicals has been linked to numerous health issues, including cancer, immune diseases, reproductive issues, and diabetes. These substances are also known as “forever chemicals”, due to their inability to naturally break down in the environment and the human body. PFAS have been found in every state in the country.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year. Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.