Dingell, Fitzpatrick Introduce Legislation to Protect Firefighters from PFAS
Washington, August 6, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to develop educational resources to help protect firefighters, emergency response personnel, and the communities they serve from exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) leads the bipartisan companion bill, which passed the U.S. Senate at the end of July.
The Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fire Administrations, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to provide information for federal, state, and local firefighters on training and best practices to reduce, limit, and prevent exposure to PFAS from firefighting foam and turnout gear, as well as resources that identify alternatives for firefighting tools and equipment that do not contain PFAS.
“We need to work with urgency to protect our nation’s firefighters and emergency personnel from toxic, cancer-causing forever chemicals,” said Rep. Dingell. “Currently, there is little to no federal oversight on preventing PFAS contamination in firefighting foam and gear – this needs to change. My colleagues and I are working together to regulate PFAS in drinking water, cosmetics, and food containers, and with this legislation we can provide additional safeguards and establish best practices for firefighters and the communities they serve.”
“It is unacceptable that our firefighters, who put their lives on the line every day, are being exposed to PFAS in the line of duty,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to stand with Representative Dingell and our Senate colleagues to support this important legislation that will work to protect our firefighters and emergency response personnel from unnecessary exposure to toxic forever chemicals.”
PFAS chemicals are man-made chemicals that have so far been found in the drinking water of more than 2,000 communities, in cosmetics, food containers, and now firefighting foam and protective gear. PFAS chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. These chemicals have been linked to harmful human health effects, including cancer, reproductive and developmental harms, and weaken immune systems.Dingell has continuously led on combatting the PFAS crisis, introducing bipartisan bills like the PFAS Action Act and the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act. You can view the full text of the bill here.