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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls for Senate Action to Protect North Carolinians from Forever Chemicals

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein urged the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee to strengthen public health and environmental protections against PFAS, also known as forever chemicals. Attorney General Stein has been leading the fight to protect North Carolinians’ water and environment from PFAS and their dangers. As part of an ongoing investigation, he has so far filed five lawsuits to hold PFAS manufacturers accountable for contamination in North Carolina.

“For decades, manufacturers of PFAS have gotten away with contaminating our water and harming our health,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This cannot stand. North Carolina has seen firsthand how dangerous PFAS can be. I’m doing everything in my power to protect the water we drink, but we need stronger federal protections against these forever chemicals. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to take legislative action to protect people.”

PFAS are manmade chemicals that resist degradation in the environment and are toxic to people and animals. They are linked to serious adverse health issues including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, immune system damage, and other health concerns. PFAS are used in countless consumer products, as well as in firefighting foam used by the military, airports, and first responders. Attorney General Stein recently filed four lawsuits against 14 manufacturers of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a fire suppressant that contains PFAS and seeps into soil and groundwater, contaminating natural resources.

In their letter to the committee, Attorney General Stein and a coalition of 19 attorneys general ask the EPW Committee to pass or build on the bipartisan PFAS Action Act of 2021, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed in July. The coalition asks the committee to specifically:

  • Designate the chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law to promote prompt and effective cleanup.
  • Designate PFAS as “hazardous air pollutants” under the federal Clean Air Act and prohibit the unsafe incineration of the chemicals.
  • Establish national drinking water standards for PFAS and control PFAS discharges.
  • Provide funding for drinking water suppliers to cleanup PFAS in their drinking water.
  • Provide funding to states to protect against and respond to PFAS contamination.
  • Make medical screening available to all U.S. Department of Defense personnel and members of the public who may have been exposed to elevated levels of PFAS.
  • Prohibit the use and limit the storage of PFAS-containing firefighting foam at federal facilities.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter to the Senate EPW Committee by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians from PFAS pollution:

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