U.S. House Passes Bill Targeting "Forever Chemicals"

The U.S. House approved a bill Friday targeting so-called ‘forever chemicals,' also known as PFAS.
  • U.S. House approves bill targeting so-called ‘forever chemicals,' also known as PFAS
  • PFAS are used in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to non-stick cookware
  • The bill now faces what will likely be an uphill fight in Washington, including in the Senate
The legislation has been praised by an advocate for the Cape Fear region of North Carolina, where they continue to deal with the chemical GenX. The chemical, used at a nearby plant, potentially puts them at risk of cancer or other health problems.
Among other things, the bill requires that the federal government list PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. It opens the door to federal funding to help with cleaning up contamination.
PFAS are used in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to non-stick cookware.
North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson, R-8th District, successfully got two amendments added to the bill, clarifying that communities impacted by GenX could benefit from provisions in the bill.
On the House floor, Hudson explained how - years after it was first discovered in local water - GenX continues to haunt those in the Cape Fear region.
“I've talked with many of my constituents, including one whose neighbor has cancer. They don't know if its connected to GenX. They can't get information about it and they're worried about their own children,” Hudson said. “This is about getting answers for our community. This is about making sure my constituents are protected and the water we're drinking is safe.” 
Late last year, lawmakers punted on including more stringent regulations as part of a must-pass defense bill, ultimately stripping out those changes amid negotiations between the Senate and the House.
The bill passed Friday now faces what will likely be an uphill fight in Washington, including in the Senate.
Earlier this week, the White House raised concerns about the legislation, saying it would create unreasonable timelines for regulators and also open the door to litigation.
Among North Carolina House lawmakers, Republicans congressmen Richard Hudson, David Rouzer, and George Holding joined with all three Democrats in voting for the bill. The remaining Republicans voted against, with the exception of Rep. Mark Walker, R-6th District, who did not vote.
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