Dear Chairman Tonko and Ranking Member Shimkus:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce writes regarding the hearing, “Legislative Proposals to Protect Americans at Risk of PFAS Contamination & Exposure.”
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large and diverse class of chemicals with unique properties that have been used in a broad number of beneficial applications for years. Heightened attention to potential health effects of certain PFAS chemicals has understandably led to increased public concern and interest in new regulatory protections in this area.
The Chamber supports action to address these concerns, and is committed to proactively working with legislators, regulators, and all stakeholders to establish risk-based standards that protect human health and the environment. Collaboration and transparency are critical to any such efforts, and the government, industry, and the scientific community must work together to share knowledge and focus resources on the highest priorities based on actual risk, while utilizing existing regulatory processes to proactively address both current and future issues.
There are close to 5,000 PFAS class chemicals. The chemistries among these chemicals vary substantially and have different characteristics, profiles, and uses. Any federal action – legislative or regulatory – should be undertaken on an individual chemical basis, rather than as a class. Science should guide such decisions and neither legislation nor regulation should predetermine outcomes.
We also encourage the development of a consistent approach and clear timelines for assessing and regulating specific PFAS across all relevant federal agencies to ensure that government regulations, actions, and communications are consistent and coordinated for maximum effectiveness. Further, federal agencies should prioritize clear, science-based risk communication and regulatory transparency to ensure that the American public can better understand the actual risks associated with specific PFAS chemicals.
We look forward to working with you on this important matter.
Neil L. Bradley
cc: Members of the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change