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Proposed PFAS Ban Once Again Before State Legislature

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Firefighting foam that spilled into the Farmington River on June 9, 2019.

Connecticut’s top environmental official said Wednesday she supports a proposal to prohibit the use of firefighting foam containing a family of toxic chemicals of the type that washed into the Farmington River in 2019.

Two accidents at Bradley International Airport, including fire suppression around a plane crash that killed seven people, sent tens of thousands of gallons of PFAS (per-and polyfluorinated substances) into the river. 

These so-called “forever chemicals” can persist in the environment and cause health problems.

Katie Dykes, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said her agency supports a bill to phase out most uses of firefighting foams containing PFAS by 2023. 

The bill also would establish a takeback program for unused foams. Republican state Sen. Craig Miner said that will be crucial for any future legislative support.

“If we don’t have a program to take it back, I can’t imagine this passing the legislature,” Miner said. “The real issue is what do we do with what we have. … If we don’t give people an alternative, a can is gonna deteriorate in the basement of a firehouse and it’s going to be a problem.”

The bill was raised in a public hearing before the environment committee Wednesday. It now goes before state officials for review and possible advancement in the state legislature.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at Connecticut Public. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.
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