Gallagher, Colleagues Lead Effort to Create Alternatives to PFAS-contaminated Firefighting Foam

August 3, 2020
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), alongside Reps. Madeline Dean (PA-04), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Andy Kim (NJ-03), and Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), last Thursday introduced the PFAS Free Foam Research and Development Act, a bill that would establish a public-private partnership to find an alternative to PFAS-contaminated firefighting foam. The partnership would include industry stakeholders and federal agencies like the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Click HERE for bill text.

 

"In order to find a military-grade alternative to PFAS chemicals, we need proper research and coordination,” said Rep. Gallagher. “This bill helps us protect our water from harmful contaminants by finding ways to achieve a quick and safe phase out of PFAS firefighting foam."
 
"Tackling our local – and national – water contamination problem is one of my highest priorities,” Rep. Dean said. “Finding an alternative to PFAS contaminated firefighting foam is vital –  no one should be exposed to these harmful forever chemicals."
 
"I am proud to work with Congresswoman Dean on introducing this important piece of legislation to protect public health,” Rep. Kildee said. “PFAS chemicals are linked to harmful health effects and we must do more to reduce exposure and clean up contamination in our communities. It is long past time to find alternatives to PFAS in firefighting foam that will ensure clean drinking water and prevent harmful environmental contamination."
 
"PFAS chemicals endanger our men and women in uniform, and our families that live in military communities like those around Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,” Rep. Kim said. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to introduce this bill that would make sure we quickly and safely transition away from using PFAS in our military’s firefighting foams."
 
"It is crucial, especially in Pennsylvania, that we research and develop PFAS-free firefighting foam,” Rep. Houlahan said. “I’m proud to be working with this bipartisan coalition to combat this harmful chemical that is affecting Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth."

Last year, the NDAA included a provision that requires DoD to phase out its use of Aqueous film forming foam, a firefighting foam that includes harmful chemicals, by 2024. This bill seeks to spearhead innovation to ensure they have access to a military-grade alternative.

 

 
The bill includes the following guidelines:
  • The use of green and sustainable chemistry to ensure any alternative does not pose a risk to public health or the environment.
  • Increase the opportunities for sharing best practices within the research and development sector by using and leveraging research from existing Department of Defense programs.
  • Take into consideration the Department of Defense’s different uses of AFFF and provide clear guidelines on their priorities in an alternative.
  • Hold the Department of Defense accountable in this research.
  • Requires them to submit a report to Congress that explains the actions they’ve taken in finding an alternative and disclose any alternatives they denied, and the reasons behind their denial.
 
Background:
Rep. Gallagher is committed to reducing PFAS contamination in Northeast Wisconsin. In Congress, he serves as a member of Climate Solutions caucus, the Great Lakes Task Force, and the PFAS task force. Two bills that Rep. Gallagher co-sponsored, H.R. 2577, the PFAS Right to Know and H.R. 1976, PFAS Detection Act, were included in the National Defense Authorization Act last year.

Office Locations