Dear Chairwoman Margorie Decker, Chairman Julian Cyr, and members of the Joint Committee on Public Health,
We, the undersigned residents of Massachusetts, urge you to pass An Act to protect Massachusetts public health from PFAS, S1356 & H2197, sponsored by Representative Kate Hogan and Senator Julian Cyr, from your committee.
PFAS are a class of over 12,000 chemicals used to make products stain proof, water resistant, and nonstick. PFAS are in a wide array of consumer products, including food packaging, carpets, clothing, cookware, pesticides, artificial turf, cleaners, waxes, building materials, paints, personal care products, firefighting gear and foam.
Toxic at very low levels, these chemicals increase risk of cancers, immunosuppression, liver disease, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive harm, high cholesterol, asthma, and neurological problems. We are exposed by drinking and eating food and water that has been contaminated, and using products with PFAS. When products containing PFAS are manufactured and disposed of, PFAS leach into the soil, groundwater and drinking water.
In Massachusetts, at least 169 public water systems in 95 cities and towns, and an unknown number of private wells, have exceeded the state’s legal limit (Maximum Contaminant Level) for PFAS. PFAS have also been detected in 100 percent of the 27 Massachusetts rivers tested, some of which are used for drinking water. PFAS will also be found in other areas once more testing is done.
There is a lot we need to do to protect public health from PFAS. We need to identify and clean up existing pollution. We need to care for those affected. And we need to hold contaminators accountable for cleanup costs. That said, our efforts will be for nothing if we don’t stop PFAS contamination at the source. It’s pretty simple: If a bathtub is overflowing, you don’t start scooping out buckets of water to try to empty it. You turn off the faucet.
Please act quickly in passing from your committee, An Act to protect Massachusetts public health from PFAS, S1356 & H2197 which will get PFAS out of many products by 2026 and even more by 2030; cut industrial discharges of PFAS to water; and set up a fund to help communities test and treat for PFAS in drinking water, soil, and groundwater. Passage of the bill will significantly reduce our exposure to toxic PFAS and prevent contamination from getting worse.
We also urge quick passage of the bill once it is reported out of the Public Health committee. Other states have already enacted laws to restrict PFAS in some or all products. Massachusetts residents deserve the same protection as residents in other states.