Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Banning Use Of PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam in October, Phases Out PFAS-Containing Food Packaging In 2023
Law Furthers Governor Lamont’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan, Continues State’s Effort to Eliminate ‘Forever Chemicals’ from Environment
(WINDSOR, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today held a bill signing ceremony at the edge of the Farmington River in Windsor to commemorate the adoption of a new state law banning the use of firefighting foam and food packaging that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Commonly known as PFAS, the large group of man-made “forever chemicals” are used in a variety of materials and products around the world.
Specifically, the new law, Public Act 21-191, An Act Concerning the Use of PFAS Substances in Class B Firefighting Foam, bans the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, or “AFFF,” effective October 1, 2021. Effective immediately, AFFF is not permitted for use in training activities. Additionally, the law also phases out PFAS-containing food packaging by 2023, which makes clear to the food and packaging industries the state’s desire for safe packaging and provides time to those industries to develop safe alternatives.
It furthers two key goals of Governor Lamont’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan: minimizing future releases of PFAS to the environment, and minimizing human health risk for Connecticut residents caused by PFAS. The action plan was developed by the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force, which was established in 2019 by Governor Lamont and led by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Health, with assistance from many other agencies, including the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. It was convened one month after the accidental release of PFAS from an aircraft hangar at Bradley International Airport, and three months before the tragic B-17 crash that occurred at Bradley in which PFAS-containing foam was used to put out the resulting fire.
“This new law makes Connecticut residents safer, plain and simple,” Governor Lamont said. “Reducing the potential for another release of these forever chemicals into our environment, and reducing the amount of PFAS-containing products in circulation in our state, is the right thing to do for the health of the residents of Connecticut and our environment. This was identified as a priority when we convened the task force two years ago, and I’m pleased to see this come to fruition and that I can sign this into law.”
“Public Act 21-191 builds strongly upon the work that’s already being done by the PFAS task force to work with municipalities through our AFFF Take Back Program,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Betsey Wingfield said. “This law provides the mechanism to ensure that AFFF is taken out of circulation and replaced with a safer alternative, and also reduces the amount of PFAS-containing products residents will come into contact with in their daily lives. I commend the stakeholders, legislators, and Governor Lamont, who championed this important legislation.”
Public Act 21-191 makes mandatory a takeback program the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has already been engaged in to collect AFFF foam from municipal fire departments at no charge. The takeback program is funded by a $2 million allocation approved by the State Bond Commission in July 2020. To date, 170 fire departments have requested pickups of their existing foam inventories. A total of 50 municipalities have completed the takeback program, with more than 6,000 gallons of PFAS-containing foam collected thus far.
Prior to beginning the takeback program, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, in partnership with the State Fire Administrator and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, identified a PFAS-free firefighting foam, National Universal®F3 Green, that can be used effectively to put out fires without risking impacts to the environment or harming residents’ health. Local fire departments can order the foam through a state contract to ensure their foam is safe and effective.