Flint, Mich. is not the only place where there is a problem with contaminated water. Guin, Ala. also has a problem. There has been a second lawsuit filed to bring attention to the water supply in Guin and the dangers that it presents to the people who live there.
It is upon information and belief that the water is contaminated with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances also known as PFAS. PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s. They have been used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, firefighting foams and products that resist grease, water and oil.
During production and use, PFAS can migrate into the soil, water and air. Most PFAS do not break down, so they remain in the environment. PFAS can be found in the blood of people and animals and over time can build up with repeated exposure.
It is believed that the disposal of solid waste and discharge of wastewater containing PFAS is coming from the 3M plant and transported to a landfill where Purgatory Creek is located. This is believed to be where the City of Guin gets the water supply.
You can also get contaminated water from well water, eating fish caught from contaminated water, eating food grown or raised near places that used or made PFAS, eating food packaged in material that contains PFAS and using consumer products treated with PFAS such as stain resistant carpet and water repellent clothing. People are primarily exposed to PFAS through drinking water or eating food made with contaminated water. PFAS can also be breathed in through the air.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, exposure to PFAS can cause cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease. The most harmful impact that PFAS has on human health is it can suppress the immune system, changes in liver function, high cholesterol, lower birth weight and cancer.
The bill, HR2467, introduced in the House of Representatives on April 2, 2021 and called the PFAS Action Act, establishes requirements and incentives to limit the use of PFAS and to remediate PFAS in the environment. This bill also requires the Environmental Protection Agency to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1989; authorizes the EPA to review the aforementioned hazardous substances designation after five years; requires the EPS to determine whether the PFAS shall be designated as toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act and establish standards to limit discharge of PFAS from industrial sources into United States waters; requires the EPA to issue primary drinking regulations for PFAS that includes standards for PFOA and PFOS; requires the EPA to issue final rules adding PFOA and PFOS to the list of hazardous air pollutants, as well as test all PFAS for toxicity to human health, and to regulate the disposal of materials containing PFAS; establishes various grants to help community water systems treat water contaminated by PFAS.
This bill passed with 241 Democrats voting yes and 183 Republicans voting no. One of those Republicans was District 4 Representative Robert Aderholt who voted against this bill knowing what was going on in Guin, a rural town that is in his District.
In 2018, the 3M PAC contributed $92,000 to Republican candidates, and Aderholt received $1,000. This same year, Doug Jones also received a $1,000 donation from 3M. However he condemned the release of the chemicals and called for an investigation into what happened and why the public was not better notified. Aderholt issued a press release which said that there was a “3M situation” with the water and some people were looking into it. He said nothing about the poison being pumped into the water that people were drinking, bathing their children in and cooking with.
After this, Aderholt has taken around $5,500 from 3M in the last two cycles, most of which came after 3M had been accused of dumping cancer-causing chemicals into the water. After learning that 3M acknowledged dumping the pollutants in the water for years, Aderholt never stood up and spoke out against it.
During the 2018 campaign, Aderholt told a reporter with US News that our District 4’s opioid epidemic would be solved by Trump’s economic policies. Does he really believe that people would be so happy to have money that their addiction would go away? Even to the extent that you and your neighbors are poisoned?
Here we are in 2023, and this problem has not gone away. Can we depend on Aderholt, Tracy Estes and Tommy Tuberville to use their resources in Washington and Montgomery to help the people in Guin, and other towns in Alabama who are going through this same life threatening situation? We couldn’t depend on Aderholt’s vote on HR 2467.
See complete story in the Journal Record.