Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Introduces Legislation to Protect the Health of First Responders Fighting Chemical Fires

Washington, May 16, 2019
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) introduced H.R. 2638, legislation to direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue guidance to protect the health of first responders when using foam containing PFAS to fight fires.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used in a variety of industries. These chemicals are often found in the foam used to put out fires. PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes and can accumulate in the body for long periods of time.

“It’s important that firefighters have the tools they need to do their job safely and extinguish fires as quickly and effectively as possible. It is equally important, however, that we safeguard the health of the firefighters as well as our citizens and our environment,” said Congresswoman Fletcher. “The ITC fires in March remind us all of the risks and the importance of safeguarding the health and safety of first responders and citizens in these disasters.”

During the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) plant fire in Deer Park, Texas in March, fire fighters used more than 130,000 gallons of foam to extinguish the flames. High levels of PFAS were found in the water of the Houston Ship Channel and lower levels were found farther downstream, according to the Galveston Bay Foundation.