The Honorable John Borrasso
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman,
We, the undersigned business organizations and companies, call on you to pass legislation to address the issue of PFAS contamination. Exposure to certain types of PFAS has been linked to health problems like cancer and autoimmune disease.
Many businesses have already taken the lead to adopt alternatives PFAS, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances used to greaseproof, stainproof or waterproof consumer products, including cookware, apparel, furniture, carpeting and food packaging. Listening to the demands of consumers and governments, these manufacturers and retailers have found, over the past five years, that making and selling products without harmful chemicals is both safer and profitable.
Responsible businesses support regulation of PFAS to:
- Provide a level playing field for businesses that choose to manufacture, distribute, and sell PFAS-free products to compete with businesses that do not factor human health and the environment into their decisions.
- Support market expansion of responsible companies that are innovating safer and greener products.
- Increase consumer trust in the marketplace by letting them know which products are PFAS-free.
On the other hand, not addressing PFAS could have profound negative effects on businesses and the economy. For example, recreational fishing generates approximately 35.7 billion a year in economic activity and generates thousands of jobs, from fishing gear retailers to amenities such as hotels and restaurants near popular lakes and rivers. PFAS contamination threatens fishing across the country. A 2019 study in South Carolina found levels of PFAS in wild fish at high enough levels to pose serious health concerns. In 2018, the State of Michigan started issuing “Don’t Eat the Fish” advisories along lakes, rivers, and streams. Similarly, Michigan has had to issue “do not eat” warnings for deer in certain parts of the state because of PFAS contamination. Recreational hunting creates approximately $27.4 billion a year in economic activity. By failing to address PFAS, the EPA and Congress are putting at risk these important economic sectors, thousands of businesses, and the many jobs they create.
H.R. 535, recently passed in the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on 1/13/2020, would require the EPA to clean up PFAS contaminated sites, set drinking water limits on PFAS, regulate the disposal of PFAS, provide grants to community water systems to help offset costs of treating water contaminated by PFAS, and establish an EPA reviewed labelling process that businesses can use to show their products are free of PFAS. H.R. 535 passed with bi-partisan support and deserves consideration. We approve of H.R. 535 and urge you to consider it or similar legislation for a vote in the Senate.
We applaud the action on PFAS taken by Congress in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Bill of 2019, but further steps are necessary to ensure that our water and environments are free from these dangerous chemicals. The EPA claims that it is taking extensive efforts to help communities address PFAS through its PFAS action plan. Though the steps taken are appreciated, the agency’s actions are so far limited to establishing voluntary guidelines, and there remains to be any clear plan or timeline for creating enforceable limits or cleanup requirement on PFAS. To ensure the EPA follows through with its promises, Congressional action is needed. There are safer alternatives to these chemicals, and our businesses stand ready to work with you to advance meaningful and effective policy to grow our economy and protect our health and environments.
State Public Policy