What is PFAS?
Toxic chemicals known as Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances
(PFAS) that are linked to testicular and kidney cancer, liver damage, hormone disruption, increases in cholesterol, thyroid disruption, asthma, reproductive disorders including infertility, low birth weight, and decreased response to vaccines at levels in the parts per trillion. Known as forever chemicals because they don’t break down, even during incineration, contaminating water sources and soil, they are taken up by plants and contaminate fish, shellfish and wildlife.
More than 2,800 sites in all 50 states are contaminated by PFAS, forcing states and localities to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cleaning up PFAS pollution in their communities and providing safe drinking water for their residents.
Despite these dangers, many consumer products continue to be made with PFAS chemicals to make the product stain or grease resistant, water-repellant and anti-stick. PFAS in consumer products not only expose consumers but contaminate the environment at the end of their use.
Connecticut became a national leader when we banned PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging — two major sources of contamination. But we must do more to “turn off the tap” of these highly toxic chemicals.
Many states, including New York (2022) and California (2022), are restricting consumer products containing PFAS — like carpets, rugs, textiles, cleaning products and cosmetics. Maine (2022) took a step further, requiring that manufacturers and distributors disclose the presence of PFAS in products sold in the state. The law gives Maine’s environmental agency authority to determine if the use of PFAS is essential. If not, the state can ban all products with non-essential use by 2030.
Connecticut should take bold action to “turn off the tap” on further toxic PFAS contamination. While testing and remediation are key, preventing further unnecessary contamination from consumer products— where safe alternatives exist — including artificial turf fields, is a common-sense next step.