"As the most densely populated state in the country and one of the most industrialized, New Jersey has had a particularly high occurrence of PFAS contamination in drinking water," McCabe said in July. "That is why we have taken the threat of PFAS chemicals so seriously, and have played an early, leading role among the states in addressing this problem."
Earlier this year, a group of Princeton University researchers announced they were studying a microbe that was able to break down PFAS in lab vials. "We knew this was a big environmental challenge, to find an organism that could degrade these perfluorinated organics," lead
researcher Peter Jaffe said in a news release in September. Over 100 days, the bacteria were able to break down 60 percent of the PFAS in the lab vials, according to Princeton University officials. "We would like to get the removal higher, and then go and test it in the field," Jaffe said.
More earlier news from Bloomberg:
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said Dec. 6 that he wouldn't accept provisions on regulating so-called "forever chemicals" in the fiscal 2020 defense reauthorization bill that are weaker than what the House passed in July.
Lawmakers are anxious to move forward on the must-pass defense bill, which lays out priorities for Pentagon programs. But the disagreement over the PFAS provisions sets a significant hurdle to getting it into law.
Senate Republicans are unwilling to adopt a "meaningful drinking water standard" that would impose limits on two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Pallone told
Senate Republicans have also refused to require cleanup of toxic waste in the National Defense Authorization Act, Pallone said.
"We had strong House provisions on both standards for drinking water and cleanup of toxic waste sites, they wouldn't do it, that's it," Pallone said.
Pallone said Republicans have consistently rejected the proposals, including the latest one sent Dec. 5.
Democrats "are not going to vote for a safe drinking water standard that is less than the current law. They're not saying that the bill can have weakened standards in it, they're saying they want something that
accomplishes the goal of addressing PFAS."
Nearly 70 Democrats said in a letter they wouldn't vote for a bill without strong language on cleaning up the chemicals, which are linked to cancer and other health problems and plague communities around the country.
Not a single Republican voted for the defense bill (H.R. 2500) that passed the House July 12.