Rep. Axne Votes to Expand Resources to Guarantee Clean Drinking Water for Iowans

July 21, 2021
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation will assist in cleanup of PFAS chemicals, support community water systems

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance comprehensive legislation aimed at protecting clean drinking water access, combating toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, and supporting community water systems and cleanup efforts.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to adverse health effects, including cancer, immune system effects, impaired child development, and thyroid disease. The man-made class of substances are extremely persistent due to their molecular structure, and are often called “forever chemicals.”

“PFAS chemicals represent a clear and urgent public health threat to Iowa, especially to the young children and expectant mothers who could face lifelong effects if exposed to these harmful pollutants through our drinking water,” said Rep. Axne. “This legislation would stop the production of these dangerous chemicals, crack down on dumping in our water systems, and support cleanup efforts.”

The PFAS Action Act would establish a national drinking water standard for select PFAS chemicals, designate the chemicals as hazardous to enable to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated sites across the country, and support local utilities and community water systems in cleanup efforts.

The legislation also provides $2.5 billion for PFAS Infrastructure Grants to ensure local utilities have the resources they need to protect water systems without burdening the communities they serve with an unaffordable expense.

This funding was included in earlier efforts to combat PFAS contamination thanks to advocacy by Rep. Axne.

“It’s critical that we don’t put the financial burden of these cleanups on our local communities,” said Axne. “Which is why I’ve fought to include funding that will aid in keeping Iowans’ drinking water clean of these invisible threats.”

In addition to the PFAS Infrastructure Grant Program, the legislation provides $500 million for a School PFAS Testing and Filtration Grant Program to ensure our schools have the resources they need to protect against PFAS containments in our schoolchildren’s water.

The bipartisan bill also prohibits unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes, places a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce, and creates a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 328 sites across the United States have PFAS contamination — including multiple in Iowa — and over 200 million Americans are drinking contaminated water.

This legislation has been endorsed by: Environmental Working Group, Union of Concerned Scientists, Consumer Reports, Green Science Policy Institute, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Law & Policy Center, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Food & Water Watch, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, and Southern Environmental Law Center.