CR praises lawmakers, calls on Senate to approve strong, pro-consumer auto safety and PFAS measures
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing major auto safety legislation and an important PFAS measure as part of a broader infrastructure package, the INVEST in America Act.
CR said that the bill would help greatly reduce the toll of road crashes, which account for the deaths of at least 38,000 people and millions of injuries every year. The bill would also set deadlines for the EPA to develop water quality standards and establish limits on some industrial PFAS discharges into water.
William Wallace, CR’s manager of safety policy, said, “It’s unacceptable that more than 100 people lose their lives on our roads every single day. The House is right to respond forcefully to the terrible toll of auto crashes, and to pass a bill that recognizes the scale of our problems and offers solutions ambitious enough to address them. The Senate should follow suit.”
Brian Ronholm, CR’s director of food policy, said, “PFAS is contaminating our drinking water and these chemicals are linked to various cancers, learning delays in children and harm to reproductive health. The Pappas Amendment in the INVEST in America Act would help combat this problem by establishing deadlines for the EPA to develop water quality criteria and place limits on some industrial PFAS discharges into water and water treatment plants.”
The auto safety provisions in the bill include requirements for every new car to come standard with lifesaving features like automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning, which would meet minimum performance standards. The bill also would reduce drunk, distracted, and drowsy driving; strengthen the five-star new car safety ratings program; prevent violent truck underride crashes; help stop child heatstroke deaths in cars; and improve safety in cars with keyless ignitions; among other steps.
A June 2020 CR analysis on the expected benefits of existing safety technologies found that full adoption of the technologies on the entire fleet of light vehicles in the United States could cut road deaths in half by saving 16,800-20,500 lives per year. Another 2020 CR study found that certain safety technologies often come only with the purchase of a package of expensive additions, including features like a premium stereo system or sunroof, which often costs more than $2,000 extra. By passing a bill to make existing safety technologies standard on all new cars, the House aims to save lives and stop automakers from treating safety as a luxury.
A recent investigation of the nation’s drinking water by CR and the Guardian found widespread contamination of PFAS chemicals. PFAS is a group of compounds known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily in the body or the environment.
CR collected unfiltered tap water samples from 120 volunteers around the U.S. and tested them for PFAS and other contaminants. CR found measurable levels of PFAS in 117 of the 120 samples tested. More than 35 percent of the samples exceed 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for total PFAS, a safety threshold that CR scientists and other health experts think should be the maximum total amount allowed in drinking water. There are currently no restrictions on industrial charges of PFAS into our drinking water.
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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 85 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.