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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 28, 2017 02:38 PM
From: Representative Katharine M. Watson
To: All House members
Subject: Water Contamination Legislation
Since 2014, 22 public wells and 200 private wells have been shut down by contamination from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in parts of Warminster, Horsham and Warrington townships, Bucks County, adjacent to military facilities where firefighting foams containing the chemicals were widely used. EPA has also detected these compounds in surface water, wastewater, sewage sludge, and landfill leachate in communities where industrial products such as textiles, leather; metal plating; photolithography; semi- conductors; paper packaging; coating additives; cleaning products; and pesticides are produced.

Federal and state environmental authorities are monitoring these compounds, however, they are only labeled as “emerging contaminants,” with health advisory levels. PFOS and PFOA are not currently listed as hazardous substances under Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA); therefore, there is no recourse for Pa residents or municipalities to seek assistance with clean water replacement, site cleanup, wastewater disposal and related health issues. The exposure is widespread. Toxicology studies show increased levels in blood serum, kidney and liver now linked with various cancers and illnesses.

Other states are taking action. Vermont and New York have adopted an amendment adding PFOS and PFOA to their state’s hazardous substance list; while Minnesota, New Jersey, West Virginia and North Carolina have established lower health advisory levels.

Accordingly, in the near future, I will introduce legislation adding these substances, their equivalents, and any substance designated by an executive order to pose a threat to public health and safety or the environment, as hazardous substances. In addition, my legislation directs DEP to, within 12 months of the establishment of a maximum contaminant level, health advisory level or provisional health advisory level for any substance, determine whether the substance should be designated by regulation as a hazardous substance.

Please consider cosponsoring this important legislation to protect our water and our citizens from unhealthy exposure to these dangerous substances.

To get a national perspective on the impact of PFOS and PFOA contamination please view the article below. http://www.circleofblue.org/2017/water-quality/nonstick-chemicals-slipped-water-causing-health-environmental-regulatory-mess/

To view the original EPA Fact Sheet entitled Emerging Contaminants – Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) May 2012 Click Here https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/P100EIVC.PDF?Dockey=P100EIVC.PDF

Introduced as HB1398