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Bauer celebrates major victories in the fight against PFAS contamination

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a national maximum standard of 4.0 parts per trillion of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS or ‘forever chemicals.’ The new measure is the first legally enforceable standard for PFAS contamination in drinking water. 

This comes one day after Indiana Attorney General announced that his office is bringing a lawsuit against 22 chemical companies that continued to manufacture PFAS despite knowing the considerable health risks. That lawsuit seeks to hold chemical manufacturing companies accountable for knowingly deceiving the public by producing substances harmful to human health by paying back the communities affected in the form of remediation and clean-up efforts. 

Just over a month ago, Republican legislators pushed for a broad regulatory carveout that would have allowed chemical companies to continue manufacturing PFAS chemicals under a different chemical classification. After several attempts were made to push this provision through, the measure failed. 

“Today marks a great victory for all Hoosiers, and all Americans,” State Rep. Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend) said. “PFAS pose a grave public threat as their environmental presence is vast and persistent, and their negative health effects are serious and broad. I am thankful to the Biden-Harris administration for taking this critical step to legally enforce PFAS drinking water standards across the nation. While the process will take time, states and communities now have the power to start testing and cleaning up contaminated water sources. 

“I am also grateful that the Indiana Attorney General is bringing a lawsuit to hold chemical companies accountable for the harm they have caused the state. The Office of the AG claims to have proof that the chemical manufacturing industry knowingly deceived the public and continued to produce chemicals they knew to pose serious health risks. These companies owe it to all Hoosiers to pay for the clean-up and remediation of drinking water sources contaminated with unacceptable levels of PFAS. 

“Protecting the public from the harmful effects of PFAS has been one of my top priorities during my time in the legislature. During the 2023 legislative session, I authored House Enrolled Act 1219 to create a PFAS biomonitoring pilot program to test the blood of firefighters. Firefighters are one of the most exposed populations as PFAS are prevalent in firefighting foam and personal protective equipment. Additionally, I was a co-author on HEA 1341 from 2023 that prohibits the purchase of firefighting gear containing PFAS if it does not have a clear label. 

“This year, I was proud to lead efforts that defeated legislation that would have created a broad regulatory carveout for manufacturing companies and would have allowed the continued use of PFAS under a different classification. I am so glad to see that Indiana has decided to take the side of science and progress to protect our citizens, not protect chemical companies. 

“Before today, there was no standard for PFAS levels in the water consumed by us and our children. Before today, there was no threat of accountability for bad actors who knowingly poison our water. I look forward to continuing this fight to clean up our communities and rid Indiana’s drinking water of toxic PFAS.” 

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