Letter to Hon. President Joseph Biden-Reps. Kildee, Fitzpatrick Lead New Bipartisan Push for Funding to Address PFAS Chemicals


President Biden:

As your administration develops the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget, we strongly encourage you to provide comprehensive and robust funding to address toxic forever chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We appreciate your administration's continued commitment to addressing PFAS and ask that you reinforce that commitment by including important PFAS provisions in your budget request to Congress.

PFAS chemicals pose grave dangers to human health and communities. They are extremely persistent in the environment and the human body, and even at low levels of exposure, many have been linked to serious health problems including thyroid, kidney, liver, heart and reproductive conditions.[1] According to the Environmental Working Group, it is estimated that PFAS has contaminated the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans.[2]

In 2021, the federal government took important steps to address PFAS. Last October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a PFAS Strategic Roadmap to lay out the agency's approach to addressing PFAS chemicals. And in December, you signed an Executive Order creating new PFAS standards for federal procurement policy. Congress increased PFAS-related annual appropriations for Fiscal Year 2022 and adopted important bipartisan reforms to better protect our communities, firefighters and servicemembers and their families from exposure to PFAS.

However, much more can be done. Therefore, we urge you to significantly increase funding across agencies for the critical infrastructure, scientific, regulatory, procurement and cleanup needs to address PFAS in your FY 2023 budget request. We encourage you to include additional resources for the following provisions:

Funding to support the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) PFAS cleanup at current and former military installations, including state-owned National Guard facilities. In addition, DOD should include specific budget requests to support the development of effective PFAS remediation and disposal technologies, expand funding for PFAS health exposure studies, authorize PFAS blood testing for additional servicemembers and assist with the procurement of PFAS-free items, including household goods like food packaging and carpeting as well as turnout gear for military firefighters.
Funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to monitor the health effects of PFAS in veterans, including dedicated funding to support PFAS research, provide blood testing at no additional cost to veterans and provide PFAS-specific health monitoring for veterans.

Funding to support EPA's scientific, regulatory and cleanup work on PFAS. EPA will need considerable resources to implement the executive order requiring federal agencies to prioritize the purchase of PFAS-free products, as well as support its regulatory, monitoring, risk assessment and standards-setting work outlined in the PFAS Roadmap. In addition, EPA should include specific budget requests for resources to address PFAS air emissions and expedite the development of effluent limitation guidelines and pretreatment standards ahead of the timeframe outlined in the PFAS Roadmap.

Funding to support and expedite U.S. Geological Survey's efforts to conduct a nationwide sample for PFAS in lakes, streams, wells, rivers and soil.
Funding to support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's investigation, assessment and regulation of PFAS chemicals in food packaging, food contact substances, cosmetics and personal care products, and other consumer goods.
Funding for the Federal Aviation Administration to assist airports with costs related to transitioning to PFAS-free firefighting foams for equipment testing, training exercises, or general use.

Funding for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National institute of Standards and Technology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and other federal agencies who are addressing critical research gaps, including addressing specific risks for frontline communities and identifying risks and seeking to mitigate occupational exposures for firefighters, first responders and manufacturing industry workers.

Funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct nationwide sampling of foods and agricultural commodities for PFAS and to improve utilization techniques and remediation methods to help rural communities and agricultural operations impacted by PFAS contamination.

The communities we represent are insisting action must be taken to protect all Americans from harmful PFAS chemicals. We look forward to working with you to find solutions to this public health and environmental concern. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.