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Connecticut Manufacturers Brace for Stronger Rules on “Forever Chemicals”

  • Environmental Protection Agency proposing rule to strengthen regulations on “forever chemicals” known as PFAS
  • Connecticut passed a law earlier this year banning the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam and phasing out their use in food packaging by 2023
  • Some manufacturing groups worry that the EPA rule will result in a time-consuming process that is more likely to negatively impact smaller firms

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Connecticut manufacturers, already facing a recently enacted state ban on “forever chemicals,” are bracing for the potential of an even stronger federal rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing stronger regulations on the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl, substances collectively known as PFAS. These include more than 4,000 manmade materials that are valued by manufacturers for their ability to improve a product’s durability by increasing its resistance to heat, water, grease, or staining.

However, PFAS don’t break down in the environment and having been posing increasing risks of food and water contamination. This, in turn, has been linked to detrimental health effects such as certain cancers, thyroid disease, and weakened immunity.

  • Following a 2019 spill of 50,000 gallons of PFAS-containing firefighting foam into the Farmington River, as well as the contamination of several wells in Killingworth, Connecticut’s legislature passed a law earlier this year to ban the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam effective Oct. 1 and to phase out PFAS-containing food packaging by 2023
  • The EPA rule would require manufacturers to test their products for PFAS and publicly report their levels; it could also potentially put these companies on the hook for environmental cleanup efforts
  • Connecticut manufacturing groups have expressed concerns that such a process could be time-consuming, with more of a negative impact on smaller firms
  • There has also been some national pushback, with some groups saying that certain chemicals may not have feasible non-PFAS alternatives and that all PFAS chemicals should not be regulated in the same way

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