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Dingell Takes Steps to Prohibit the Incineration of PFAS Waste

Washington, May 9, 2019

Yesterday, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) along with Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Dan Kildee (MI-5), introduced the PFAs Waste Incineration Ban Act of 2019.

The legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prohibit the incineration of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). Additionally, the bill would require the EPA to identify other wastes containing PFAs and prohibit their incineration.

Recent reporting shows there is an expanding PFAs contamination crisis across our country. Many contamination sites come from facilities using Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) with PFAs. In the 1960s, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory developed AFFF to quickly extinguish fuel fires. The firefighting foam is used on military bases, commercial airports and other facilities at risk for fuel fires. PFAs chemicals contain carbon-fluorine bonds, some of the strongest in nature. If PFAs are not incinerated properly, harmful chemicals and byproducts are released into the environment.

“An expanding body of science concludes PFAs are harmful to humans,” said Rep. Khanna. “Highly fluorinated chemicals have been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and many other adverse health effects. This bill is an important – yet simple – step in the right direction.”

“We know that PFAS chemicals are harmful to human health, which is why many communities have stopped using firefighting foam containing PFAS. We need to dispose of excess PFAS chemicals, but it is important we do not contaminate our environment in the process. This bill is an important step to protect the air we breathe from toxic PFAS chemicals,” said Rep. Kildee.

“Michigan has experienced firsthand the devastating impact of PFAS contamination. Incinerating PFAS chemicals only expels them into our environment and threatens our clean air and public health. Our communities deserve to know the air they breathe is safe,” said Rep. Dingell. “For the good of all Americans and future generations, we need to fix this for people’s health now. We need to find safe disposal methods for PFAS, not recklessly incinerating these hazardous chemicals. It must stop now.”

Read the full bill online here.

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