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Proposed PFAS Ban Once Again Before State Legislature

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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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