Newly Announced Bill Starts the Journey to Keeping PFAS Out of the Water Newly Announced Bill Starts the Journey to Keeping PFAS Out of the Water

By Jaden Gerard SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga County is home to plenty of bodies of water for people to enjoy, and a new bill aims to start the process to keep them a lot safer. The “PFAS Surface Water Discharge Disclosure Act” was announced this week by Senator Rachel May along with other environmental advocacy groups.

This bill would enforce testing on facilities discharging industrial waste into the water supplies around New York. The purpose of this bill is to get a better idea of where these chemicals are coming from, which could reveal a clue to the scale of this issue.

Jill Heaps, senior attorney at Earthjustice, one group supporting Senator May, says that there aren’t enough regulations on discharging PFAS and it’s time for that to change.

“PFAS contamination is an urgent issue across New York and the nation. While New York has stepped up to set drinking water limits for just two out of hundreds of PFAS pollutants, there are no federal or state limits on any company dumping PFAS pollutants in our water in the first place.”

PFAS chemicals, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are found in many common items. They can be in many household items, as well as industrial and food packaging. PFAS chemicals can have harmful effects on a person’s health, with the ability to cause health issues as bad as cancer.

President of the Onondaga Environmental Institute, Edward Michalenko, says combatting PFAS can only help combat the cancer dilemma.

“About one in four or one in five in our society are gonna die of a cancer. Well over 90-95 percent of those cancers are environmentally induced by chemicals, and so that is a crisis.”

Jaden Gerard – New legislation was announced this week to keep harmful chemicals away from the waters
of New York. Senator Rachel May is sponsoring a new bill called the “PFAS Surface Water
Discharge Disclosure Act”, which aims to annually test facilities that discharge industrial
waste into the waters.

Senator May wants to protect these bodies of water as she believes that “enrich our
communities, attract people from around the world, and bring us beauty and delight”. She
wants to do so by “ensuring companies maintain environmentally friendly practices.”

PFAS chemicals don’t breakdown like others and can be dangerous to one’s health. They
can be found in household items such as carpeting and non-stick pans, as well as fast food
packaging among other things.

SUNY ESF Professor Douglas Daley says that PFAS testing needs to develop as around
only 40 types of PFAS chemicals can currently be detected.

Douglas Daley – “We’re leaving thousands of these things to chance.”

Gerard – President of the Onondaga Environmental Institute, Edward Michalenko believes that the next step could be through packaging regulations.

Edward Michalenko – “If these chemicals are in certain forms of packaging oor products and those products
become a release to the environment, you want to restrict that, you want to prevent that.”

Gerard – For now, this is just the first step in the efforts to keep these harmful chemicals from
entering the local waters. If these efforts are successful, people will be able to enjoy the
water behind me a whole lot more. For N-C-C News, I’m Jaden Gerard.

Reported by

Jaden Gerard

Jaden Gerard is a junior at Syracuse University majoring in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. He is from Woodcliff Lake, NJ. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends and watching New York sports.

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