WASHINGTON – Legislation authored by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) and cosponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to help protect the health and safety of fire fighters and emergency responders from PFAS exposure was signed into law. The Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act directs federal agencies to develop best practices, training, and educational programs to reduce, limit, and prevent exposure to PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down.
“Our fire fighters work day in and day out to keep our towns and cities safe, and their service should not come with worries about PFAS exposure,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan bill will help reduce fire fighters’ exposure to PFAS and help protect the health and safety of these brave public servants. I look forward to seeing the results of this bill across our state and country, and I’ll keep working to support our first responders.”
“I’ve long prioritized policies to remediate PFAS contamination in our communities and to phase out the use of these dangerous chemicals in our daily lives, which is of critical importance for workers who are often occupationally more likely to be exposed. This is the case for firefighters, whose exposure to firefighting foam and some personal protective gear containing PFAS, makes them particularly vulnerable. Our legislation is an important step forward to empower firefighters with the best practices, training and education they need from the Department of Homeland Security to stay safe on the job. I’m thrilled to see the President sign it into law,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll keep working to address the full scope of this issue to stop exposure, remediate contaminated sites and deliver the information and tools our community members need to stay healthy.”
This new law is part of Senator Hassan and Shaheen’s ongoing efforts to support first responders and address PFAS exposure. Senator Hassan has strongly supported federal grant programs to support New Hampshire fire departments, and successfully worked to increase funding for these programs in the American Rescue Plan that was passed into law. Senator Shaheen steered negotiations on the water provisions included in the bipartisan infrastructure law, during which she secured record-level funding to address PFAS contamination. In September, Shaheen led the delegation in announcing $72 million in capitalization grants from the law for the State of New Hampshire to use toward water infrastructure updates and improvements. The bipartisan infrastructure law includes a measure authored by Senator Hassan to better ensure that more New Hampshire towns are eligible for an advanced technology grant program that can be used remove contaminants, including PFAS, from drinking water.