NC AG urging lawmakers to better protect people from ‘forever chemicals’

Experts said PFAS are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells, military bases and even food.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (Photo: WWAY)

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY/WCTI) — North Carolina’s attorney general and those of several other states have written a letter urging lawmakers to do more to protect people from “forever chemicals.”

Josh Stein is among those who have asked the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee to strengthen public health and environmental protections against PFAS, which are toxic industrial compounds associated with serious health conditions and are used in products that include cookware, carpets, cardboard boxes, firefighting foams, leather treatments and many other products.

Experts said PFAS are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells, military bases and even food.

Stein’s office has so far filed four lawsuits to hold PFAS manufacturers accountable for contamination in North Carolina.

“I’m doing everything in my power to protect the water we drink, but we need stronger federal protections against these forever chemicals,” Stein said. “That’s why I’m calling on Congress to take legislative action to protect people.”

Stein said the manmade chemicals do not break down well in the environment and they are toxic to people and animals. He added that the chemicals are linked to serious health problems including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, immune system damage, and other health concerns.

In their letter to the committee, Attorney General Stein and a coalition of 19 attorneys general ask the EPW Committee to pass or build on the bipartisan PFAS Action Act of 2021, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed in July. The coalition asks the committee to specifically:

  • Designate the chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law to promote prompt and effective cleanup.
  • Designate PFAS as “hazardous air pollutants” under the federal Clean Air Act and prohibit the unsafe incineration of the chemicals.
  • Establish national drinking water standards for PFAS and control PFAS discharges.
  • Provide funding for drinking water suppliers to cleanup PFAS in their drinking water.
  • Provide funding to states to protect against and respond to PFAS contamination.
  • Make medical screening available to all U.S. Department of Defense personnel and members of the public who may have been exposed to elevated levels of PFAS.
  • Prohibit the use and limit the storage of PFAS-containing firefighting foam at federal facilities.

Read the full letter here.

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