Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the brand new powers provided by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to determine if perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA, should be restricted or banned at the federal level. President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bill to reform the Toxic Substance Control Act, into law this week.
“I am deeply disturbed that the people of the Village of Hoosick Falls, Town of Petersburgh, and Town of Hoosick have been exposed to PFOA through their drinking water,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Given the concerns about the serious effects of PFOA on public health, using their new authorities to regulate chemicals, I urge EPA to make a determination as soon as possible as to whether this chemical should be restricted or banned at the federal level. An EPA assessment would give New Yorkers a better understanding of the long-term effects of PFOA exposure and ensure our communities are better protected against this chemical.”
In February 2016, Senator Gillibrand urged EPA to expedite the clean-up of Hoosick Falls, by designating them a federal Superfund site. Senator Gillibrand also sent a letter to Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in February 2016 requesting that the committee hold a hearing to examine the effects of PFOA on drinking water in the United States.
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
United States Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
The residents of the Village of Hoosick Falls, Town of Petersburgh, and Town of Hoosick, New York, were recently informed of exposure to the chemical compound perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA, through their drinking water. The results of blood testing showed that there are residents of Hoosick Falls with levels of PFOA in their bloodstream as much as 50 or 100 times above the national number. All age groups have been affected, from infants to senior citizens.
There are very serious concerns that PFOA is potentially linked to tragic health effects, including various types of cancer. The presence of PFOA in the drinking water of Hoosick Falls is likely the result of pollution from a nearby plastics manufacturing plant. However, this is not an isolated incident; PFOA contamination has been found in other states as well, and threatens to become a major public health crisis across the Northeast and anywhere this chemical has been used in manufacturing. Although my immediate concern is for the residents of Hoosick Falls and their families, the issue of PFOA contamination is a national concern that must be addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency immediately.
Given the concerns about the effects of PFOA on public health, I urge you to prioritize this chemical for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as soon as possible so that EPA can make a determination as to whether the use of this chemical should be restricted or banned at the federal level. A TSCA analysis will help to improve upon the science so that my constituents have a better understanding of the long-term effects of PFOA exposure, and ensure our communities are better protected against this chemical.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent request.
United States Senator