Actor and Advocate Mark Ruffalo Applauds $20 Billion PFAS Cleanup Proposal

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For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, March 12, 2020

WASHINGTON – Actor and environmental advocate Mark Ruffalo applauded the introduction today of the Providing Financial Assistance to States for Testing and Treatment Act of 2020, or PFAS Testing and Treatment Act, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

“No senator has done more to sound the alarm and address the threats posed by PFAS pollution than Sen. Jeanne Shaheen,” said Ruffalo. “By spending $2 billion a year over the next decade to get PFAS out of our drinking water and groundwater, Sen. Shaheen is once again making PFAS pollution a priority.”

The PFAS Testing and Treatment Act would provide $20 billion in grants to states to help finance water treatment and to clean up PFAS contamination in groundwater.

The Environmental Working Group has now confirmed PFAS in the tap water or groundwater in nearly 1,500 communities.

“We know that PFAS build up in our blood and organs,” said Ruffalo, who produced and starred in the movie “Dark Waters.” “We know that PFAS chemicals have been linked – through animal, worker and human studies – to serious health problems. And we know that PFAS have contaminated the drinking water of many more people than has been previously estimated.”

He added, “Sounding the alarm is important. But it’s not enough. We need to end PFAS releases and ban PFAS in food packaging, and we need to filter PFAS out of our drinking water.”

Other bills have been introduced in recent months to regulate PFAS releases, including legislation to regulate PFAS air and water releases, and eliminate PFAS from food packaging.

“Despite everything we know, Congress has not stopped industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water,” said Ruffalo. “Congress has not stopped big food companies from using PFAS in our food packaging and other everyday consumer products, and the FDA is hiding PFAS detections in food from the public. Congress has not stopped the use of PFAS in firefighting foam, although the Defense Department will have to phase out its use by 2024.”

The EPA has promised but not yet issued a decision to limit PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

“There is still no legal requirement to filter PFAS from tap water, even though we know the safe level is 1 part per trillion, and most of us are probably drinking far more than what’s safe,” Ruffalo said. “That’s why today’s bill introduction is an important step in the right direction.”

 “Who is paying for our failure to act?” he added. “It’s real people – people who live in frontline communities like Merrimack, New Hampshire – real people who are paying the price in the form of higher health care costs and higher water bills.”

UPDATED: The headline was updated from $2 to $20 billion. And the quote was corrected from $200 million per year to $2 billion per year.

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