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Helping Congress Understand the Importance of Addressing PFAS Contamination

May. 15, 2019 | FightForZero

Florida activist, Stel Bailey, joined community members from across the country in Washington D.C. to help Congress understand the importance of addressing our national drinking water crisis and PFAS contamination. 

In around 100 meetings, members educated lawmakers about the specifics of contamination and urged them to support Federal policies that would safeguard communities across the nation. Many leaders recognized the importance of addressing the PFAS pollution and expressed interest in supporting policies.
In addition to the meetings, the Environment and Climate Change subcommittee in the House held a hearing on 13 PFAS policies, including a bill that requires the EPA administrator to designate the whole class of PFAS chemicals as a hazardous substance under Superfund (CERCLA), which means they would be eligible for cleanup using existing authority. 

Powerful testimony from Emily Marpe, a mother of three from New York whose drinking was is contaminated with PFAS, helped make the case for regulation: “I lost myself, my kids lost their mom, I was consumed with PFOA. I couldn’t research enough. I still attend meetings today; it is my job to protect my family. The safety and security of our home fell from under our feet.”  The hearing furthered discussions on this critical issue.

Stel Bailey grew up in Brevard County, Florida surrounded by Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the Kennedy Space Center where PFAS was used in firefighting foam. In 2013, her uncle, family dog, brother, father, and herself faced one cancer diagnosis after the other. Bailey began crowdsourcing medical information from neighbors, classmates, and surrounding communities in 2014. She first learned of the PFAS contamination when the DoD report came out at the beginning of 2018. She formed Fight For Zero, a grassroots organization, and began independent testing with results of harmful contaminates in canals, rivers, wells, and traces of PFBA in the drinking water. Bailey started a campaign to safeguard Florida families, children, and communities from harmful toxins.
From banning PFAS in firefighting foam and consumer products like cookware to crafting protective maximum contaminant levels for drinking water, some states are at the forefront of protecting the public from these dangerous toxic chemicals. The federal government has a major role to play too, and we are encouraged by the recent visit to Washington D.C.!  

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