Doctor Ruiz Votes for Sweeping Bill to Protect Americans from ‘Forever Chemicals’

January 10, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) voted in favor of legislation to protect Americans from cancer-linked “forever chemicals” that have been found in drinking water and household products across the country. The bipartisan PFAS Action Act of 2019 passed the House Friday.

“We eat these chemicals when our foods are stored in PFAS-containing packaging…we drink them when they accumulate in our drinking water,” Dr. Ruiz said speaking in favor of the bill this week. “Having clean water to drink is a common good for everyone – not a privilege for a few, and I urge everyone to vote ‘yes.’”

You can watch Dr. Ruiz’s full remarks here.

Background

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are used in the manufacturing of raincoat, cookware, carpets, and other household products and considered “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in the environment and in the human body. It is estimated that 97 percent of Americans have detectable amounts of PFAS in their bodies.[1]

H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act of 2019, is a comprehensive bill to protect the public’s health by regulating PFAS chemicals and providing resources for cleaning up PFAS-affected water systems. 

  • Specifically, the PFAS Action Act of 2019:
  • Provides protections for impacted communities in need quickly and for the long term.
  • Stems the flow of PFAS contamination into the environment by requiring cleanup sites contaminated with PFAS subtypes PFOA and PFOS.
  • Sets air emission limits and holds polluters accountable.
  • Prohibits unsafe incineration of PFAS and limits the introduction of new PFAS chemicals into commerce.
  • Identifies health risk by requiring toxicity testing be conducted on all PFAS substances.
  • Seeks to limit human exposure to PFAS by requiring a drinking water standard for PFAS that protects public health—including vulnerable subpopulations such as pregnant women, infants, and children and provides guidance for first responders to limit their exposures.
  • Provides grants to impacted water systems and creates a voluntary label for PFAS free cookware.

###