Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. Included in the bill is a bipartisan provision authored by Congresswoman Ross that would amend existing law to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a definition of PFAS that is as broad and protective as others that are already in use.

“North Carolinians know firsthand the threat that PFAS chemicals pose to our communities,” said Congresswoman Ross. “That’s why I’m thrilled my amendment to broaden the definition of PFAS and better align it with current science was included in the NDAA. We have a duty to protect all of our people, including members of the military and their families, from toxic PFAS contamination. I would like to thank my colleague Congresswoman Mace for her collaboration on this important issue. This amendment is crucial in our fight to eradicate PFAS contamination from communities in North Carolina and across the country.”

PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” are dangerous, man-made chemicals that do not break down easily and have contaminated the nation’s water, soil, and air for decades. In North Carolina, chemical companies have polluted the Cape Fear River with PFAS for years, resulting in serious health consequences for local residents.

The current EPA definition of PFAS requires at least two fully fluorinated carbon atoms, and they must be adjacent. However, numerous states and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) use definitions of PFAS that require only one fully fluorinated carbon atom. As a result, EPA’s narrower definition will produce a rule that fails to capture many PFAS that are already included in other policies.

Congresswoman Ross serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee where she has consistently advocated for supporting research institutions and leveraging federal resources to eradicate PFAS contamination. In June, Congresswoman Ross led a letter with six other members of the North Carolina delegation to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Michael Regan urging the EPA to reconsider a Trump administration decision to deny a citizens’ petition filed by a group of NC-based environmental health and justice groups in 2020. The petition, filed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), requested that EPA exercise its authority under TSCA to require Chemours to fund robust health and environmental testing for 54 PFAS manufactured by Chemours at its Fayetteville facility.

Congresswoman Ross also voted to pass the PFAS Action Act, legislation that would require comprehensive regulation of PFAS by establishing standards to protect drinking water from contamination and authorizing grants to drinking water utilities treating PFAS contamination.