Minnesota officials unveiled the Minnesota PFAS Blueprint
Minnesota officials unveiled a plan to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are polluting the state’s waters.
The plan is known as the Minnesota PFAS Blueprint and calls for the state to enact stronger regulations, including designating more than 5,000 different chemicals as hazardous substances under Minnesota’s Superfund law.
The plan calls for additional $3 million in state funding over the next two years to help researchers identify sources of PFAS and find out how the chemicals are ultimately ending up in Minnesota’s waters, reported AP News.
The blueprint lays out 10 priority issue areas for PFAS:
- Preventing PFAS pollution
- Measuring PFAS effectively and consistently
- Quantifying PFAS risks to human health
- Limiting PFAS exposure from drinking water
- Reducing PFAS exposure from consuming fish and game
- Limiting PFAS exposure from food
- Understanding risks from PFAS air emissions
- Protecting ecosystem health
- Remediating PFAS contaminated sites
- Managing PFAS in waste
The plan also lays out specific legislative actions which they propose take place in 2021. Among these actions are designating PFAS as a “hazardous substance” under the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA) and mandating that companies disclose information regarding PFAS use in products or manufacturing processes.
This plan would make it easier to hold companies financially liable for cleaning up PFAS pollution.
“These forever chemicals are everywhere,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop in a Zoom meeting that included leaders from other state agencies, lawmakers and environmental activists, reported AP News. “And new PFAS are being invented, used in industry and incorporated into commercial products, and released into the environment every day.”
In the early 2000s, PFAS compounds that were long manufactured by 3M in Minnesota were discovered in the drinking water supplies of the east Twin Cities metro area. Minnesota settled a lawsuit in 2018 against 3M over the contamination after the company agreed to pay $850 million.