Demand legislation that protects drinking water from toxic PFAS chemicals
These chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they never break down and can build up in the environment and our bodies.
Since I was little, I’d walk down to the creek that runs through the forest in my backyard and would often find oyster shells. Every time, the water looked so inviting that I would love to take a drink, though I never did because I’m sure it wasn’t safe.
What many Americans don’t realize, however, is that our drinking water might not be safe either because of contamination from a class of toxic man-made chemicals called PFAS, which is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
PFAS chemicals have been around since the 1940s and were originally used to coat nonstick cookware. They are known as “forever chemicals” because they never break down and can build up in the environment and our bodies.
Exposure to PFASis linked to cancer, immune system deficiencies, high cholesterol, low fertility and child development issues. In Illinois, officials have identified potentially different levels of PFAS in Chicago’s drinking water.
SEND LETTERS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.
Congress should phase out the use of PFAS in firefighting foams, require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop manufacturers from dumping PFAS in our waterways and require the EPA to create drinking water regulations for PFAS.
Last month, Environment America and U.S. Public Interest Research Group, along with 80 other organizations, including Environment Illinois and Illinois PIRG, submitted a letter to the Senate calling for legislation that protects our drinking water from PFAS. All Illinoisans should seize this moment to call on senators to turn off the tap on toxic PFAS.
Hajrah Jalil, Environment America
Protect birds from collisions
Every year around 1 billion birds die due to window glass collisions. Birds are unable to recognize windows as threats and unknowingly fly into them, resulting in injury and death. These accidents and tragic deaths are preventable. One of the best ways to prevent collisions is by using external insect screens.
The American Bird Conservancy has been a leader in research and advocacy for solutions like these. While scientists, architects and building managers must work together to implement best practices, policymaking is another crucial component in protecting birds from collisions.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, who represents parts of Cook and DuPage counties, has long been advocating for a federal policy solution and has championed the Bird Safe Buildings Act, which would mandate that certain public buildings must use features, practices and strategies to reduce bird fatalities.
The American Bird Conservancy Action Fund, which works to build political support for the American Bird Conservancy’s mission, is grateful for Quigley’s leadership.
Federal agencies, like the U.S. Department of the Interior and the General Services Administration, are already paying attention to his bill and have begun to implement many of the ideas it promotes.
Now is the time to build on this interest and advocate for Congress to pass the Bird Safe Buildings Act. Other members of Congress should step up and advocate for this bill.
Steve Holmer, vice president of policy at American Bird Conservancy