Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Minnesota could ban ‘chemicals forever’ from household items and fire-fighting foam


Minnesota lawmakers are moving forward with what would be one of the nation’s most aggressive bans on “forever chemicals” in consumer products, compounds that have become ubiquitous around the world and are linked to several health effects.

During a hearing Thursday before the Senate Environment Committee, senators heard moving testimony from Amara Strande, a former student of Tartan High School in Oakdale. The school is in a wide strip of Metro East where residents have unknowingly drank water contaminated with chemicals, known as PFAS, for years.

Strande, 20, said she suffered from a rare form of liver cancer which led to multiple surgeries and ultimately a terminal diagnosis from her doctors. She can no longer lift her right arm and tumors have cracked two of her ribs.

“I’ve seen neighbors and friends who have also been affected by these toxic chemicals, and it’s time to act,” Strande said.

Committee members approved a bill to ban “nonessential” PFAS in several household products like cosmetics, dental floss, and kitchen utensils by 2025, and in all other uses by 2032. legislation allows exceptions in the case of “the health, safety or operation of society.”

However, many manufacturing groups warned that the ban and other PFAS bills passed by the committee would be difficult to enforce, given the complex production processes. The breadth of industry represented showed how far chemicals have penetrated into consumer markets, spanning automakers, medical device sellers, home appliance makers, home goods sellers and others.

Andrew Hackman, a lobbyist for the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association, said makers of cribs, bassinets and other products “don’t intentionally add PFAS chemicals, but we have very long supply chains.”

But the bill’s author, Sen. Kelly Morrison, DFL-Minnetonka, argued that “we need to start by keeping these chemicals out of the environment and into our bodies in the first place.”

PFAS, or per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are forever called chemicals because their strong carbon-fluorine bonds do not break down in the environment and tend to accumulate in the human body. The category includes thousands of chemicals used as non-stick, flame retardant, oil and water repellent coatings. They were started by Maple Grove-based 3M, which got rid of PFAS that contaminated groundwater in the East Metro.

The chemicals have been linked in research to immune response and reproductive system problems, as well as certain cancers.

Lawmakers in both houses are considering bills that would establish new rules for chemicals. In addition to the bill banning PFAS from consumer items, senators also proposed one requiring companies to report the types and amounts of chemicals in their products by spring 2025, and another limiting the use of PFAS in fire-fighting foams by 2024.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is largely responsible for implementing the legislation. The agency has long supported banning non-essential uses of PFAS, including in its Chemicals Containment Project.

Several business lobbyists mentioned Thursday that a similar ban already in effect in Maine had led the state to make a series of exceptions for certain products. But Tom Johnson, the MPCA’s director of government affairs, said the agency has been talking with Maine regulators to determine how best to enforce a potential law here.

“We are prepared to implement these bills if they pass the committee and the legislature as a whole,” Johnson said.

There are a few exceptions in the legislation, notably regarding PFAS used in fire fighting foams. Oil refineries get extra time to make the transition to PFAS-free foams. The chemicals are particularly effective at smothering oxygen in dangerous fuel fires, one of the reasons they have become the go-to solution for airports and military installations.

DFL Rep. Matt Norris of Blaine, author of the House fire-fighting foam bill, said refiners are concerned about moving to a new product without additional testing first.

But opposition to the PFAS bills from chemical companies and manufacturers has been strong in both houses.

A group letter signed by 61 companies and associations warned the Senate Environment Committee that the bill banning nonessential PFAS “could eventually prohibit the sale and transportation of thousands of products in Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Reformer first reported that the same letter was also sent to a House environmental committee.

3M, a major US producer of PFAS, previously announced it would stop using and producing the chemicals by the end of 2025 – putting it behind schedule for the proposed ban. of products, which would begin at the beginning of this year. .

Spokesman Sean Lynch wrote in an email that 3M wasn’t taking a position on the bills. The company is also a member of the American Chemistry Council, which specifically opposes the ban, but Lynch did not respond to questions about whether 3M supported the group’s campaign.

Not all the companies concerned object to this. David Dalquist, general manager of Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware, said the PFAS ban “has been around for a while” and his company is already working to remove the chemicals from its Bundt pans, baking sheets and other products.

“I don’t see that as a huge barrier” as substitutes are being developed, he said. “The thing our industry struggles with is that substitutes aren’t necessarily as durable as products that contain PFAS.”

House and Senate bills usually have several stops before they can reach the floor of either house for a vote.

Norris said it was possible the bills could be combined, as they deal with similar topics, but that no decision had yet been made. He added that the testimony of witnesses like Strande had made a strong impression.

“It’s something that requires urgency, and I think we’re going to bring that appropriate level of urgency,” Norris said.

If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – at itipspedia@gmail.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply