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TRSA Advocates for Reusable PPE, PFAS Funding

Association members engaged in 118 congressional meetings during Legislative Conference

WASHINGTON — TRSA, the association for linen, uniform and facility services, reports that on April 11, members convened on Capitol Hill for a series of 118 meetings with congressional offices. 

The association says the collective dialogue resonated with policymakers, reinforcing the importance of reusable PPE (personal protective equipment) and federal funding support for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) filtration.

These discussions took place during the second day of TRSA’s 14th Annual Legislative Conference, April 10-11, at The Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C.

TRSA says its advocacy efforts continue to bolster the drive toward greater utilization of reusable healthcare PPE garments. 

Additionally, TRSA is actively working to enhance the industry’s access to federal funding for PFAS pretreatment.

The association says that the collective efforts of its members have already generated momentum. 

During the 2023 TRSA Legislative Conference, representatives encouraged lawmakers to sign a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study the benefits of reusable PPE and explore avenues for increased adoption. Thirteen representatives endorsed the letter, which was dispatched in June.

At this year’s Hill Day, the TRSA contingent asked Congress to support increasing the operating threshold of reusable textile PPE to a minimum of 50% of healthcare facilities’ inventory. Currently, reusables comprise an estimated 10% of the U.S. market. Increasing that figure would improve environmental protection, save money and enhance supply-chain security while helping to safeguard employee and patient safety.

Some types of PFAS—chemicals found in an array of consumer and industrial products—have been linked by researchers and government agencies to adverse health conditions. This has prompted concerns, including federal standards issued on April 10 that targeted their presence in drinking water. 

These regulatory mandates for calling for the removal of PFAS from wastewater will result in onerous PFAS-discharge limits to sewers nationwide. 

Fabric manufacturers are finding PFAS substitutes for garments that now use PFAS to provide barrier properties (for example, for use in infection control and fluid resistance). 

Depending on how quickly substitutes are developed and put into service, and what types of PFAS are regulated, a typical linen/uniform laundry could have little choice but to invest in the high-six-figure range or more for pretreatment equipment.

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed last year allocated $10 billion to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for removing PFAS and other emerging contaminants. Congress can establish financial incentives, such as tax credits or grants, to help businesses offset the costs associated with implementing wastewater filtration of PFAS. 

On Hill Day, TRSA asked policymakers to contact EPA to request that they allocate BIL funds to make such incentives available to our industry.

A first-time Legislative Conference attendee said he found the program's education and outreach efforts to lawmakers extremely valuable. Ryan Swartz, vice president of operations for PureStar in Las Vegas, found the overall event to be very insightful.

“I felt it was beneficial to have more operator members, vendors and suppliers at Hill Day to support the industry because there is new legislation and new parameters that our business will be exposed to,” Swartz says.

He added that he felt his first Hill Day experience was very interesting. He enjoyed advocating for the industry and the opportunities it provided to be heard.

TRSA Advocates for Reusable PPE, PFAS Funding

(Photo: TRSA)

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