Congress Must Address Chemical Contamination in California Water

Washington December 10, 2019 – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after provisions to protect California drinking water from PFAS – a category of dangerous chemicals found to cause cancer and other health problems – were dropped from the National Defense Authorization Act:

            “Congress must pass legislation this year to protect communities from dangerous chemicals known as PFAS that have been found to contaminate drinking water near California military bases.

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            “Reports suggest that at least 300 wells throughout California are contaminated with these toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other serious health issues. It’s clear that Congress must address this problem before the holiday recess.

            “We must pass legislation requiring the EPA to adopt maximum levels for PFAS in drinking water and to designate PFAS as hazardous substances so polluters can be held accountable for their actions.”

Background

            Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances– commonly referred to as PFAS – are toxic chemicals often found in firefighting foam, clothing and household goods. A study by the Los Angeles Times found PFAS in 86 water systems throughout California, most often in communities near military bases.

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked PFAS exposure to liver damage, high cholesterol, thyroid disease and increased risk of asthma. California’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment has also found links between one type of PFAS and pancreatic and liver cancers.