House Approves NDAA with Significant PFAS Measures

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The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) passed the House on September 23, 2021, on a 316-113 vote. The Act included a number of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”)-focused measures that have been part of the bill since its introduction and a slate of more-stringent requirements added through an "en bloc" amendment that the chamber approved by a slimmer margin of 236-186. The amended bill would give EPA two years to issue drinking water standards for at least two key PFAS, and potentially the entire class. This is the same requirement that lawmakers used as a centerpiece of their "PFAS Action Act" that cleared the House this summer. It would also expand several reporting mandates for PFAS chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) and other laws: one provision broadens the definition of "PFAS" subject to a pending TSCA reporting rule; another eliminates an exception to Toxics Release Inventory (“TRI”) reporting for mixtures containing less than one percent of any individual PFAS; and another requires facilities that manufactured PFAS in the last ten years to submit detection methods that regulators could use to test for contamination by those substances. The PFAS-related portions of the bill have drawn criticism in recent days from Republicans and Democrats alike, each arguing that some aspects of the bill are unworkable due to practical or scientific hurdles. The NDAA’s passage sets the stage for negotiations in the 50-50 Senate that could preserve or kill those provisions.

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