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Persistent Pollutants

US Senate approves PFAS measure

by Cheryl Hogue
June 28, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 26


The US Senate last week passed legislation to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). As part of a measure to authorize military spending for fiscal 2020 (S. 1507), the Senate adopted bipartisan provisions that would require the Department of Defense to stop using PFAS-containing firefighting foams starting Oct. 1, 2023. It would also add PFAS that are on the market to the federal toxic release inventory, meaning that facilities would have to report their annual emissions of these substances. In addition, the bill would require PFAS makers and importers to provide data to the Environmental Protection Agency about production volumes and exposure to the chemicals. The EPA would also have to craft guidance on how to dispose of or destroy material containing PFAS and set enforceable limits on two PFAS widely found in drinking water, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. The bill would also direct the US Geological Survey to sample the nation’s waters for PFAS contamination. The House of Representatives is expected to add PFAS provisions to its version of the bill (H.R. 2500).


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