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E&C Leaders Renew Information Request on Whether Industry Influenced EPA’s Suppression of Public Health Study on PFAS

Jan 29, 2019
Press Release
The Request Follows Alarming New Reports that the Agency Does Not Intend to Regulate the Toxic Chemical Class

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler today renewing their request from last year for information on actions taken by political appointees at the agency to block the release of a chemical hazard study focused on perfluorinated compounds (PFAS). The renewed request follows alarming news reports that EPA does not intend to set a drinking water limit for PFAS despite evidence of widespread risk.

The letter was signed by Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY).

“On May 21, 2018, we wrote to your predecessor, Scott Pruitt, and requested documents and information to understand the role of EPA political appointees in blocking the chemical hazard study,” the Committee leaders wrote.  “To date, EPA has failed to provide documents requested and has otherwise failed to substantively respond to our request.  We, therefore, reiterate our request.”

PFAS are a class of industrial chemicals that have been used by the Department of Defense (DOD) in firefighting exercises and by industry in the production of products such as Teflon and Scotchguard.  The toxic chemicals pose serious public health risks to communities throughout the country and have been linked to cancer, immune effects, liver effects and birth defects.

The original request from the Committee leaders focused on events surrounding the chemical industry’s efforts to conspire with EPA political appointees to block a report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) on the dangers of PFAS.

The Democrats continued, “We are deeply concerned that these actions appear to indicate that politics, and potentially industry interests, are being placed before public health, particularly in light of reports that EPA has decided not to set a drinking water limit for several toxic chemicals.” 

The Democrats are requesting answers to their outstanding questions by February 12, 2019, citing the alarming new reports that EPA now intends to discontinue efforts to regulate the toxic chemical class.

The letter is available HERE.