WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), alongside Congressman Jerry Nadler (NY-12) and Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-08), reintroduced the PFAS Accountability Act to create a federal cause of action and allow courts to award medical monitoring for victims of PFAS exposure.
The PFAS Accountability Act would allow courts to award medical monitoring for PFAS contamination victims to prevent premature morbidity, disability, or mortality. The legislation would also ensure victims of significant PFAS exposure can bring civil claims against manufacturers of PFAS, and incentivize funding for PFAS safety research.
“Research on the health implications of PFAS is vital to save lives — and accountability is necessary for exposure victims to heal,” said Rep. Dean. “Tragically, we’re very familiar with the effects of PFAS in my district and home state of Pennsylvania. The PFAS Accountability Act will allow those affected to get the justice they deserve.”
“PFAS are dangerous, carcinogenic substances and the companies that knowingly manufactured them for years must be held accountable,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My PFAS Accountability Act would help ensure that people who were or are being exposed to high levels of PFAS have legal recourse. And because PFAS-related illnesses can take years to develop, this bill also makes sure that victims can receive long-term medical monitoring as part of their remedies. I’m determined to get it passed.”
This legislation has been endorsed by Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, American Association for Justice, Southern Environmental Law Center, Waterkeeper Alliance, Great Lakes PFAS Action Network, Environmental Working Group, Riverkeeper, Buxmont Coalition for Safe Water, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and New York League of Conservation Voters.
“Every day, millions of Americans are exposed to toxic forever chemicals through contaminated food, water, and air,” said Dr. Anna Reade, senior scientist and director for PFAS advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Because we’re awash with these dangerous toxics, the PFAS Accountability Act would take an important step in protecting public health by requiring polluters to pay for medical monitoring of potentially affected people. It also could force polluters to pay for more independent scientific studies to take a deeper look at the threats these chemicals pose to our health.”
“Across the country, PFAS pollution continues to jeopardize public health and burden communities. The PFAS Accountability Act would help empower communities to get the care they need and hold polluters responsible for exposure to these toxic “forever chemicals,” said Kelly Moser, Clean Water Program Leader at Southern Environmental Law Center. We applaud Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Dean for better equipping communities to deal with PFAS exposure and for recognizing that costs of PFAS contamination should be borne by industrial polluters, not people.”
"We applaud and endorse Senator Gillibrand's and Representative Dean’s PFAS Accountability Act, which takes critical steps to finally hold polluting industries accountable for dangerous, toxic PFAS exposure in our waterways and communities,” said Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance. "It is past time that our country puts the people whose health has been jeopardized by exposure to these compounds ahead of irresponsible manufacturers that are guided by their bottom line. We urge Congress to follow the lead of Senator Gillibrand and Representative Dean by advancing this legislation as soon as possible.”
“When people learn they are exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals, they often don't know where to go for help understanding the risks to their health,” said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. “As a cancer survivor and impacted community member, I know firsthand the danger toxic PFAS chemicals pose to our health. This legislation will help provide support and accountability for people exposed by PFAS so they can get access to important medical monitoring to understand the impacts PFAS exposure is having on their health."
“PFAS exposure has been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, immune system harm, vaccine efficacy and more," said Jessica Hernandez, Policy Director for Environmental Working Group. "These PFAS-related diseases can take years to develop, which is why medical monitoring is critical to securing justice for victims of PFAS pollution. EWG applauds Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Dean for reintroducing the PFAS Accountability Act, which will hold polluters accountable and help give victims the justice they deserve."
The full text of the bill is available here.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.