WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) — On the Farmington River, legislators and environmental advocates joined Governor Ned Lamont Tuesday afternoon to sign a bill limiting PFAS usage.
Public Act 21-191 officially bans firefighting foam and food packaging that contains PFAS, a group of chemicals known as “forever chemicals,” due to their long-lasting environmental effects.
Officials say the chemical can get into waterways and harm humans. Many firefighters heard about the dangers too late.
State Sen. Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) said, “They were told it was nothing more than soap and water or a little more than soap and water and they would literally spray children down with this at a foam in fire demonstrations: scary scary stuff.”
Anne Hulick of Clean Water Action added, “Connecticut is now a national leader and that is something we should all be celebrating.”
These “green eco-warriors” from a nearby children’s camp celebrated the law. They learned about the chemical when a spill into the Farmington River back in June of 2019 meant residents could not kayak or fish in the river.
“This new law makes Connecticut residents safer, plain and simple,” Governor Lamont said. “Reducing the potential for another release of these forever chemicals into our environment, and reducing the amount of PFAS-containing products in circulation in our state, is the right thing to do for the health of the residents of Connecticut and our environment. This was identified as a priority when we convened the task force two years ago, and I’m pleased to see this come to fruition and that I can sign this into law.”
PFAS containing firefighting foam (AFFF) will be banned beginning Oct. 1, 2021 — and are banned immediately in training sessions. The law also phases out PFAS containing food packaging by 2023.
This new law also mandates a take-back program. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will soon be collecting PFAS containing equipment. 170 fire departments have already requested pickups for these materials. So far 6,000 gallons of PFAS-containing foam have been collected from 50 different fire departments.