, 20 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
Soon, the House will consider adding #PFAS to the hazardous substance list under #Superfund. Here’s why that matters.


(you can also read my blog on the subject)
#PFAS are a group of chemicals that have been used for decades in a wide variety of industrial, consumer, and military applications. @EWG’s contamination map (updated today!) has identified over 700 sites where PFAS has been detected.
@ewg #PFAS chemicals are largely unregulated and there are very few reporting requirements, so no one really knows everywhere where #PFAS have been released. Currently there are no federal limits on how much PFAS can be released into air or water or where it can be disposed.
@ewg #PFAS chemicals are #ForeverChemicals, meaning they never break down in the environment. If you live somewhere where #PFAS has been dumped you are going to be exposed until someone removes them. washingtonpost.com/opinions/these…
#PFAS chemicals build up in the body and are associated with a variety of health impacts including cancer, reproductive effects, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, and reduced effectiveness of vaccines. ewg.org/news-and-analy…
Babies are born pre-polluted with #PFAS in contaminated communities like Hoosick Falls, NY where residents were unknowingly exposed for decades to high levels of #PFAS.
These are my friend Loreen’s (@pfoaprojectny1) grandchildren who have extremely high levels of PFOA in their blood and will face lifelong health consequences as a result
Military families & communities near military bases are also particularly vulnerable populations. More than 200 sites on @EWG’s map are military sites. That’s why there are a bunch of #PFAS amendments being considered as part of a military spending bill.
The military has required the use of #PFAS in firefighting foam for 50 years and has known about the health risks at least since the 1970’s ewg.org/research/pfas-…
Again, #PFAS stay in the environment FOREVER. This article has pictures of PFAS-laden foam taken in 2018 near the former #Wurthsmith Air Force Base in Michigan, which was decommissioned more than 25 years ago in 1993
#CERCLA, better known as #Superfund, is our primary environmental law to clean-up communities contaminated with chemicals like #PFAS. Congress passed it in 1980 in response to environmental disasters like Love Canal
However, the bulk of #Superfund is focused on the clean-up of “hazardous substances.” #PFAS is not considered a hazardous substance under current law. It’s a “pollutant or contaminant.” That distinction matters.
@EPA can clean-up “pollutants or contaminants,” but only when there is a release or threatened release that poses an “imminent and substantial” danger—and even then EPA has a lot of discretion
When something is a hazardous substance, there are reporting requirements. If a hazardous substance is released in amounts greater than a certain threshold, it must be reported. That report triggers an investigation & potential clean-up. Not so for “pollutants or contaminants”
More importantly, hazardous substance designation would greatly expand @EPA’s enforcement tools at #PFAS contaminated sites
@EPA For non-military sites, hazardous substance designation would give @EPA access to federal funds set aside for hazardous substance clean-ups. @EPA could also sue polluters to recover what it spends.

This would jumpstart the clean-up process.
At sites where the responsible polluters are readily identifiable (i.e. nearby industrial dischargers, chemicals known to be manufactured by 3M, Solvay, DuPont, etc), @EPA could also order those polluters to initiate #PFAS clean up
The part of Superfund that deals with cleanup of military bases also focuses on "hazardous substances." The @DeptofDefense has used this as an excuse to drag its feet on #PFAS contamination in contaminated communities.
The Air Force actually told the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources that it was immune from MI enforcing its laws for anything other than a hazardous substance. A hazardous substance designation would undercut those DOD arguments and expedite cleanups michigan.gov/documents/pfas…
Military families and people in contaminated communities deserve better. Congress should do the right thing and move to designate #PFAS as hazardous substances
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