Golden Votes to Protect Mainers from Toxic “Forever Chemicals,” Fund Clean Up, End Production of PFAS

July 21, 2021
Press Release
Legislation could build on Maine’s first-in-the-nation PFAS ban

PFAS Action Act contains Golden provision to help protect firefighters from PFAS on the job

WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) voted today to pass the PFAS Action Act, bipartisan legislation that would help to remove dangerous “forever chemicals,” or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water, end the production of the chemicals, and increase federal funding to remove contamination. 

This vote in the House could bolster the work of the Maine legislature, which enacted a suite of laws this month to address the PFAS threat, including thenation’s first ban on the sale of “forever chemicals” earlier this month.

PFAS and other similar toxic chemicals have been identified at least 244 sites throughout Maine, including Loring Air Force Base, Houlton International Airport, Bangor International Airport, the Navy VLF radio station in Cutler, and the Bog Brook military training site in Gilead. In January, a family in Fairfield discovered PFAS in their home well.

“People in our state have been harmed by ‘forever chemicals’ for years now,” said Golden. “Maine is leading the way with action at the state level to protect our citizens from PFAS. This federal legislation would help cut off PFAS at the source and provide funds to clean up sites that have already been contaminated.”

Today’s bill included a provision authored by Rep. Golden to help ensure programs designed to protect firefighters and other first responders are protected from PFAS exposure are effective in the long term. The provision would direct the EPA and U.S. Fire Administration to report annually to Congress about the implementation and impact of the EPA’s guidance to protect first responders from PFAS. The report would also include recommendations for how to reduce firefighters’ risk going forward. Golden offered his provision as an amendment to a similar PFAS bill in 2020, when it was adopted on a bipartisan vote.This year, Golden’s provision was included in the original text of the bill.

“Firefighters and other first responders already face danger every day to keep us safe,” continued Golden. “The last thing they need is to be put at risk by PFAS in firefighting foam. This bill includes important measures to protect first responders from PFAS and my amendment will help make sure that, in the long term, these measures are effective at keeping firefighters healthy.”

Golden’s provision was supported by the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine.

PFAS has been linked to a slew of negative health consequences, including cancer and problems with the immune system.

You can read the full text of the bill here, and Golden’s provision here.