WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today joined a bipartisan group of senators in filing an amendment that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish an unreleased federal study regarding what levels of certain chemicals are safe in drinking water. According to recent news reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked to block the release of results from an HHS study on the toxic Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). PFAS are a class of toxic chemicals used in manufacturing that have been linked to a variety of cancers and serious health conditions.
“Keeping information from people about the health and safety of their water is disgraceful. The EPA and HHS must release this report immediately and work with local communities to make sure their water is safe,” Brown said.
“It is important to ensure EPA’s health advisories are up to date and reflect the best available science and information. I hope EPA and HHS release this report immediately to ensure that the men and women serving our country, as well as our communities supporting them, are drinking clean, safe water. I will continue to work with my colleague, Senator Shaheen, on our legislation, the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, to improve federal efforts to identify the public health effects of emerging contaminants, like PFOA and PFAS,” Portman said.
Brown and Portman joined Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in introducing this amendment.
The Senators filed the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is pending before the Senate and could pass as early as tomorrow. The Senators' amendment would require the release of the HHS study that reportedly increases warnings about human exposure to PFAS chemicals, which are widely used commercially and which are found in water systems that serve millions of people across the country. While this study was finalized in January 2018, EPA officials purportedly have been working to block the release of this report. The Pentagon has identified 36 U.S. military installations across the country where on-base drinking water contamination from PFAS chemicals exceeds EPA’s safety levels.
Meanwhile, many local communities, including Dayton, Ohio, are working to address PFAS chemicals that have leaked into local water systems. On Tuesday, the Senators wrote a letter to the administration demanding the agencies release the report so those communities have access to all the best science as they work to make sure their local water is safe.