February 14, 2023

Senator Warren Joins Senator Shaheen in Urging Biden Administration to Prioritize Addressing PFAS Contamination

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined 34 other Senators in signing a letter led by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to President Biden, urging the Biden administration to include funding to address PFAS contamination in the upcoming budget request. Specifically, the letter asks for funding dedicated to closing gaps in data and research, supporting ongoing testing and cleanup efforts, and supporting regulations to better protect the public and environment from PFAS contamination.

“The prevalence of PFAS combined with the adverse health impacts associated with exposure—including developmental effects, changes in liver, immune and thyroid function and increased risk of some cancers—requires a comprehensive approach. Specifically, we ask that your budget request include dedicated funding to close gaps in data and research to better inform responses and drive innovation. Second, we urge prioritization of regulatory work necessary to enhance protections for public health and the environment. Finally, we encourage robust funding to support ongoing testing and cleanup of existing contamination nationwide,” the Senators wrote.

In addition to Senators Warren and Shaheen, the letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-N.V.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 

Responding to PFAS contaminants in Massachusetts communities has been a top priority for Senator Warren: 

  • In September 2022, Senator Warren joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) in sending a bipartisan letter to Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Lloyd Austin and White House officials, urging increased funding for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) testing and remediation, and to improve PFAS-related planning to make use of the higher funding levels Congress is willing to appropriate to address the pervasive issue. 
  • In February 2022, Senator Warren joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 30 other senators in a bipartisan letter urging President Biden to prioritize robust funding to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request to Congress.
  • In December 2021, Senator Warren joined Senators Shaheen and Murkowski, along with a group of 19 senators, in sending a letter to the Department of Defense (DOD), in response to the DOD’s Inspector General report on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure mitigation and prevention at DOD installations.
  • In November 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Representative Kildee (D-Mich.), along with a group of 18 senators and 25 representatives, in sending a letter to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging the agency to ensure airports are able to use PFAS-free firefighting foam.
  • In October 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Gillibrand, along with a group of 16 senators, in sending a letter to the EPA to expand and strengthen regulatory efforts to address industrial PFAS discharges, specifically through the EPA’s PFAS roadmap plan.
  • In March 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Gillibrand as a cosponsor of the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2021.
  • In February 2020, Senator Warren sent a letter with her Senate colleagues calling on the EPA to deliver on promises it made on its PFAS Action Plan.
  • In December 2019, Senator Warren introduced the Affordable Safe Drinking Water Act, a bicameral bill that would provide Massachusetts and other states with more tools to mitigate water infrastructure costs to deliver water free from PFAS chemicals and lead.
  • On March 20, 2019, Senator Warren joined Senators Shaheen and Hassan, along with a group of 15 senators, in sending a letter to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and EPA Administrator Wheeler, requesting that the agencies release communications with the White House, and interagency communications, regarding the establishment of federal drinking water standards for PFAS and groundwater pollution guidelines related to these chemicals.
  • In March 2019, Senator Warren joined Senator Carper (D-Del.) as a cosponsor of the PFAS Action Act of 2019.
  • In February 2019, Senator Warren joined Senators Shaheen and Capito (R-W.V) in sending a letter to then-Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler, expressing concern about reports that the agency would not establish enforceable drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS as part of its National PFAS Management Plan.
  • In August 2018, Senator Warren filed two amendments to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, one of which would require the CDC to conduct a study on the health implications of PFAS exposure for firefighters, police officers, and first responders.