McEachin Votes in Support of Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Virginians, Clean Up Dangerous PFAS Chemicals

July 21, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted to protect Virginians by passing the bipartisan PFAS Action Act of 2021. The legislation, which Rep. McEachin cosponsored, will clean up per- and polyfluoralkyl substances, known as “forever chemicals,” and introduce stronger protections against future pollutants.   

Research shows that exposure to PFAS chemicals can cause life-threatening illness and disease, including multiple forms of cancer, liver disease, asthmas, thyroid dysfunction, infertility and impaired child development. PFAS chemical have been found in communities across the United States, including in Virginia. A new study published last week found that, based on EPA data, an estimated 30,000 industrial sites are known or suspected of using toxic PFAS: twelve times what had been previously estimated.  American servicemembers and their families are also at particular risk of exposure, as more than 400 U.S. military sites are known to have PFAS contamination.

“I was pleased to support this bipartisan legislation to clean up PFAS chemicals in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “This legislation will help ensure Virginians have access to safe drinking water and clean air, accelerate the clean-up of PFAS chemicals, protect our communities and military sites like Fort Lee, and implement stricter protections against these harmful chemicals. No American should have to worry that the air they breathe or the water they drink could make them sick. This legislation is an important step in ending government inaction, protecting Americans’ health, and ensuring every community can enjoy a cleaner, safer future.”

The legislation, which now goes to the U.S. Senate, would:

  • Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS within two years
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous substances within one year and require EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years while designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants within 180 days and requiring EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.
  • Require EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS and
  • Provide $200 million annually for wastewater treatment.
  • Prohibit unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes and place a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce.
  • Require comprehensive PFAS health testing.
  • Create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.