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                                                      Calendar No. 409
116th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {      116-211
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     



                  PROTECTING FIREFIGHTERS FROM ADVERSE

                         SUBSTANCES ACT OF 2019

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 2353

TO DIRECT THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY 
   TO DEVELOP GUIDANCE FOR FIREFIGHTERS AND OTHER EMERGENCY RESPONSE 
 PERSONNEL ON BEST PRACTICES TO PROTECT THEM FROM EXPOSURE TO PFAS AND 
TO LIMIT AND PREVENT THE RELEASE OF PFAS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FOR 
                             OTHER PURPOSES








              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]







                February 3, 2020.--Ordered to be printed
                            __________
                               
                      U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
                      
99-010                     WASHINGTON : 2020 
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
                
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                   Joseph C. Folio III, Chief Counsel
             Barrett F. Percival, Professional Staff Member
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
          Yogin J. Kothari, Minority Professional Staff Member
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk























                                                      Calendar No. 409
116th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                                    {      116-211
======================================================================



 
      PROTECTING FIREFIGHTERS FROM ADVERSE SUBSTANCES ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

                February 3, 2020.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2353]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 2353), to direct 
the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to 
develop guidance for firefighters and other emergency response 
personnel on best practices to protect them from exposure to 
PFAS and to limit and prevent the release of PFAS into the 
environment, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............6

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 2353, the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse 
Substances Act of 2019, or the ``PFAS Act of 2019'', directs 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in consultation 
with the United States Fire Administration (USFA), 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National 
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to 
develop and publish guidance for firefighters and other 
emergency response personnel on training, education programs, 
and best practices to protect them and their communities from 
exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly 
referred to as PFAS. Specifically, this guidance is to include 
information on ways to reduce first responders' exposure to 
PFAS from firefighting foam and personal protective equipment, 
and limit, prevent, or eliminate the release of PFAS into the 
environment.
    The bill also requires the development and issuance of 
guidance to identify safer alternative foams, personal 
protective equipment, and other firefighting tools and gear. In 
addition, the bill requires the creation of a regularly-updated 
online repository that includes resources for firefighters and 
emergency personnel on tools and best practices to help protect 
themselves and their communities from the release of and 
exposure to PFAS. FEMA is also required to consult with 
firefighters, communities affected by PFAS contamination, 
scientists, voluntary standards organizations, state fire 
training academies, state fire marshals, manufacturers of 
firefighter tools and equipment, and other relevant parties. 
FEMA, in consultation with the aforementioned Federal agencies, 
is required to review the guidance three years from the date of 
the bill's enactment and not less frequently than once every 
two years thereafter. The requirements set forth in this bill 
are exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    PFAS are a class of more than 4,700 highly-fluorinated man-
made chemicals that are widely used in everyday products, such 
as waterproof clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, 
non-stick cookware, cosmetics, and firefighting foams.\1\ PFAS 
have been in use since the 1950s and are commonly detected at 
low levels in the environment, including in people and 
wildlife, because of their extensive use.\2\ PFAS contamination 
of ground and surface waters, including potential drinking 
water, are found at higher concentrations near military bases 
that have used firefighting foams, and around industrial sites 
that have used the fluorinated chemicals in manufacturing and 
in commercial products.\3\ Some studies indicate that high-
level exposure to specific PFAS may lead to adverse health 
effects in humans, including increased risks of cancer; damage 
to the immune system; decreased fertility; birth defects; liver 
disease; and thyroid disease.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, Frequently Asked 
Questions, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers 
for Disease Control, https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html.
    \2\Id.
    \3\PFOA, PFOS, and Other PFASs, Basic Information on PFAS, United 
States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-
information-pfas#exposed.
    \4\Supra note 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The associated adverse health effects of human exposure to 
PFAS were first discovered as far back as 1950 when 3M, a major 
manufacturer of products containing PFAS, demonstrated that 
PFAS could pollute people's blood.\5\ In the 1980s, both 3M and 
DuPont identified links between PFAS and cancer, including 
finding elevated cancer rates among their own workers.\6\ In 
2000, 3M announced a phase out of certain PFAS which was later 
expanded due to further toxicity concerns. Following this 
action and concerns from stakeholders, the EPA, Food and Drug 
Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the National 
Institute of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), as well as 
local and state governments and national organizations have 
worked to advance knowledge on potential exposure from food and 
the associated health risks of PFAS.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\What are PFAS Chemicals?, Environmental Working Group, https://
www.ewg.org/pfaschemicals/what-are-forever-chemicals.html.
    \6\Id.
    \7\Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration, https://www.fda.gov/food/chemicals/and-polyfluoroalkyl-
substances-pfas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2009, EPA included PFAS for monitoring under the Safe 
Drinking Water Act and issued a provisional health advisory for 
two PFAS compounds.\8\ In 2014, EPA published a draft health 
assessment aimed in part at identifying safe drinking water 
levels, and in 2016, established a non-enforceable Lifetime 
Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion in drinking water.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Ground Drinking Water, Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA 
and PFOS, United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://
www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-
advisories-pfoa-and-pfos.
    \9\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2010, Michigan became aware of PFAS contamination at the 
decommissioned Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, 
Michigan.\10\ Similar contamination has been detected at many 
other DoD installations, both active and decommissioned, 
including Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire.\11\ PFAS were 
found in firefighting foams known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam 
that have been used by the U.S. Air Force since the 1970s.\12\ 
As a result of the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, high-level 
contamination of PFAS was discovered at the Pease Air Force 
Base in April 2014. This contamination spread to neighboring 
civilians and caused the city of Portsmouth, NH to close the 
Haven well.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Iosco County, Michigan PFAS 
Action Response Team, Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes, and 
Energy, available at https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/0,9038,7-
365-86511_82704_83952---,00.html.
    \11\Poly- and Per-fluoralkyl Substances, Pease Tradeport Water 
System Investigation, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human 
Services, https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm.
    \12\Perfluorinated-Compounds, Air Force Response to PFOS and PFOA, 
Air Force Civil Engineer Center, https://www.afcec.af.mil/WhatWeDo/
Environment/Perfluorinated-Compounds/.
    \13\Andrea Amico et al., The PFAS Contamination at Pease: A 
Community Perspective (2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In a November 2018 Subcommittee on Federal Spending 
Oversight and Emergency Management hearing titled, The Local, 
State, and Federal Response to the PFAS Crisis in Michigan, 
Brian Lepore, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, 
U.S. Government Accountability Office, said that there are more 
than 401 active or closed military bases with PFAS groundwater 
contamination.\14\ To address PFAS contamination issues across 
its military bases and installations, Mr. Lepore further stated 
that DoD spent $200 million for PFAS cleanup efforts as of 
December 2016, but added that it would take several more years 
to determine full environmental remediation costs.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis: Hearing Before 
the S. Homeland Sec. & Governmental Affairs Comm., Subcomm. on Fed. 
Spending and Emergency Mgmt. (115th Cong.) (2018).
    \15\Id. (testimony of Brian J. Lepore, Director, Defense 
Capabilities and Management, and J. Alfredo Gomez, Director, National 
Resources and Environment, United States Government Accountability 
Office).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At the same hearing, Lieutenant Timothy Putnam, vice-
president of the Tidewater Federal Fire Fighters, explained 
that firefighters and emergency response personnel face 
disproportionately high levels of PFAS exposure because the 
chemicals are key ingredients in firefighting foam and personal 
protective equipment.\16\ Firefighters are routinely exposed to 
PFAS during emergency responses and training activities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Id. (testimony of Lieutenant Timothy Putnam, Vice-President, 
Tidewater Federal Fire Fighters).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This bill addresses a gap in Federal efforts and measures 
to reduce, limit, and prevent the disproportionate level of 
PFAS exposure to firefighters and emergency response personnel. 
As noted above, most PFAS regulation has been focused on 
environmental safety, and mainly related to drinking water. 
This bill helps fill a critical information gap that currently 
exists in addressing PFAS contamination by providing 
firefighters and emergency response personnel with important 
information on health impacts and the steps necessary to 
protect themselves and their communities from PFAS exposure. 
FEMA's partnership with relevant Federal experts to develop 
consensus, guidance, and a repository of information on best 
practices to reduce, limit, and prevent PFAS exposure and 
contamination will help safeguard the health and safety of 
firefighters and the communities that they serve. This 
information will help firefighters and other emergency 
responders reduce their exposures to PFAS and minimize or 
eliminate its environmental release.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced S. 2353, the 
Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances Act of 2019, on 
July 31, 2019, with Senators Gardner (R-CO), Hassan (D-NH) and 
Sullivan (R-AK). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 2353 at a business meeting on 
November 6, 2019. The bill was approved by voice vote en bloc 
with Senators Johnson, Enzi, Hawley, Paul, Portman, Lankford, 
Romney, Scott, Peters, Carper, Hassan, Rosen and Sinema 
present.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances Act of 
2019.''

Section 2. Guidance on how to prevent exposure to and release of PFAS

    Subsection (a) directs FEMA, in consultation with the USFS, 
EPA, NIOSH, and other relevant Federal agencies, to within 180 
days of enactment, develop and publish guidance for 
firefighters and other emergency response personnel on 
training, education programs, and best practices, to reduce 
exposure to and limit the release of PFAS into the environment, 
as well as alternative tools and equipment that do not contain 
PFAS. FEMA is also required to create a regularly updated 
online public repository on methods for firefighters and other 
emergency response personnel to reduce and prevent the release 
of and exposure to PFAS.
    Subsection (b) requires the FEMA Administrator to consult 
with interested entities when developing the guidance required 
under subsection (a), including firefighters and other 
emergency response personnel, communities impacted by PFAS 
contamination, and scientists who are studying PFAS or PFAS 
alternatives.
    Subsection (c) requires the FEMA Administrator to review 
and issue updates to the guidance required under subsection (a) 
no later than three years after the guidance is issued, and no 
later than every two years thereafter.
    Subsection (d) exempts the guidance development and 
consultation provisions outlined in this bill from the 
requirements established in the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, January 23, 2020.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2353, the PFAS Act 
of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    
    

    S. 2353 would direct the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA), to develop and publish guidance for firefighters 
and other emergency responders for reducing exposure to 
PFAS.\1\ The guidance would include information on best 
practices, training, and education that FEMA would develop in 
consultation with scientists, firefighters, manufacturers, and 
staff at other federal agencies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\PFAS, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are 
chemical compounds used in certain fire suppressants.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For this estimate, CBO assumes that bill will be enacted in 
fiscal year 2020. Under that assumption, the agency could incur 
some costs in 2020, but CBO expects that most of the costs 
would be incurred in 2021 and later. Any spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Using information provided by FEMA about the cost of 
similar efforts, CBO estimates that the agency would initially 
spend about $400,000 to create guidance and training materials 
related to PFAS, and about $100,000 each year thereafter to 
update those materials. The bill also would require FEMA to 
create an online repository with tools and best practices 
concerning PFAS, and to update its guidance and the repository 
biannually. CBO estimates that the agency would initially need 
about $250,000 to create the repository, and about $100,000 
each year thereafter to update and maintain the system. To 
oversee the implementation of the guidance and repository, CBO 
expects that FEMA would need a program manager at an estimated 
cost of $180,000 per year. In total, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost about $2 million over the 
2020-2024 period.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Director 
of Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Because S. 2353 would not repeal or amend any provision of 
current law, it would make no changes in existing law within 
the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 of rule XXVI 
of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

                                  [all]