Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls for PFAS “Forever Chemical” Cleanup in Defense Bill

May 27, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DC—Yesterday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined over 100 bipartisan Members of the U.S. House in sending a letter to the House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), and Ranking Member, Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX-13), calling for the inclusion of necessary and comprehensive cleanup provisions to address harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — also known as “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally breakdown. These chemicals have been implicated in a range of health disorders from cancer and organ damage to pregnancy and development complications. They continue to contaminate military bases and their surrounding communities, the environment, as well as drinking water nationwide.
“Communities across this country have been exposed to or experienced the harmful effects of these ‘forever chemicals’ in some way, with the greatest impact being on our servicemembers and military families who live in the surrounding communities and on bases where PFAS chemicals were widely used,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Clean drinking water is fundamental to our public health and every single person must have guaranteed access to it. The already tough sacrifices our military men and women and their families make in service to our country cannot be compounded by our nation’s failure to address this environmental crisis now. Congress must address this in the National Defense Authorization Act without any delay to ensure our nation keeps its promise to our troops.”
The full text of the letter is available here.
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a leader in Congress fighting toxic chemicals that harm our environment and our ohana. She previously voted to pass H.R.535, the PFAS Action Act, to ban the manufacturing of new polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish drinking water standards for them as well as Superfund cleanup designation. It also authorized $100 million for this and the next fiscal year for a grant program to support treatment efforts. The bill passed the House with a vote of 247-159
She voted against the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in part because the bill retreated from the requirement to clean up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-contaminated communities and industrial water pollution passed by the House in the PFAS Action Act and prevented PFAS from being added to the toxic pollutant list in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. 
She introduced two bills, the Oxybenzone and Octinoxate Impact Study Act of 2019 as well as the Reef Safe Act of 2019, to study and protect public health and our environment, including our precious coral reefs, from potentially harmful chemicals in sunscreen. She has also joined with 41 of her colleagues to introduce the Ban Toxic Pesticides Act of 2019, which would re-ban the use and stockpile of a toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos (CPY), to protect our environment and the health of our people.
She also fought for legislation to re-ban the use and stockpile of a toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos (CPY), which has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. In addition to numerous harmful effects on human health, the chemical also creates severe learning and memory deficits in honey bees – potentially jeopardizing a critical pollinator and the health of ecosystems in Hawai‘i and across the country.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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