The United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) held a September 26th hearing titled:
The Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis
Two panels of witnesses addressed various aspects of the chemical Per-and Polyfluoralkyl substances (“PFAS”).
PFAS include a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonate, and GenX chemicals.
PFAS properties include resistance to heat, water, oil. Further, they have been described as persistent in the environment and resist degradation. The compounds have been used in various industrial applications of consumer products such as:
Fabrics for furniture
Paper packaging for food and other materials resistant to water, grease or stains
Utilization in several industrial processes
Potential human exposure to PFAS includes pathways through drinking water, air or food.
Witnesses at the September 26th Subcommittee hearing included:
Peter C. Grevatt, Ph.D., Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Maureen Sullivan, Deputy of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Energy, Installations & Environment, U.S. Department of Defense
Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S., Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Brian J. Lepore, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, U.S. Government Accountability Office
Andrea Amico, Co-Founder, Testing for Pease
Arnold Leriche, Community Co-Chair, Wurtsmith Restoration Advisory Board
Timothy Putnam, Jr., Vice President, Tidewater Federal Firefighters Local F-25, International Association of Fire Fighters
The United States Environmental Protection Agency witness stated that the agency has previously committed to work on four actions which include:
Initiating the steps to evaluate the need for a Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFOS
Beginning the necessary steps to consider designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102
Considering groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites
Working in close collaboration with federal and state partners to develop draft toxicity values for GenX (HFPO dinner acid) and for Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid (PFBS)
A link to the written statements of the witnesses testifying at the hearing can be found here.