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As I See It

Why no urgency on PFAS?



It is like a bad dream. You find yourself under a clear threat, but seem unable to do anything about it. That must be what it is like for people living on French Island and elsewhere who have been dealing with contaminated well water for years. The danger is from so-called PFAS chemicals, known as forever chemicals, that can cause cancer and other illnesses. The chemicals are seemingly everywhere, from firefighting foam, cookware and stain-resistant clothing. Federal regulators have been aware of the presence of PFAS for years, but have set no limits on the presence of the chemicals in our drinking water. After much delay, the state of Wisconsin finally took action, and adopted allowable standards for PFAS. That doesn’t fix the problem. It just identifies the extent of the problem. And it will take at least two years to formally adopt the standards. One of the largest makers of PFAS-containing products is Minnesota’s 3M company. Finally, 3M has pledged to stop producing products containing PFAS. But it will take years to phase that out, with a promise of totally discontinuing use of PFAS by 2025. Why should solving this problem take so long? We know how dangerous these chemicals are. The federal government should finally take action and ban the use of these chemicals immediately, not years from now.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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