Wisconsin releases action plan to reduce PFAS chemical use

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MADISON, Wis. (AP/CBS 58) — A new Wisconsin action plan recommends preventing pollution from forever chemicals known as PFAS and the development of ways to reduce their use.

Governor Tony Evers' administration released the plan on Wednesday, Dec. 16, after a year of study involving nearly 20 state agencies and the University of Wisconsin.

There are growing concerns about the impact of the chemicals on public health. PFAS have been linked to cancer, liver disease and reproductive health problems.

The report includes 25 action points centered on environmental justice, health equity and pollution prevention.

Experts say these are just initial stages, but testing drinking water is one recommendation.

“We would mail out sample kits to those communities that are selected to undertake that, collect those samples and then those would be sent into the state lab,” said Environmental Management Division Administrator Darsi Foss.

State leaders say many of these action items would need support from lawmakers.

They explained that about one-third are “explicitly legislative” and many involve building out programs that are already underway.

Experts say PFAS do not break down in the environment.

Long-term exposure could impact the immune system and cause health problems in humans.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul talked about PFAS in the spring.                                                                   

“Given the impacts that we know that some types of PFAS have on people’s health, we need to make sure that we’re taking clear, comprehensive steps here to protect the health of Wisconsinites and people across the country,” Kaul said.

Gov. Evers' office said Wisconsin has now joined less than a dozen states that have developed a plan to combat PFAS contamination.

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