Toxic PFAS contamination jeopardizes the health of Minnesotans throughout the state. This "forever chemical" is found in a wide variety of products in our homes and workplaces, and in our water and soil. Today, Policy Director Nels Paulsen presented the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee with the following letter of support for House Files 742, 552, and 372. These bills would help protect our communities from chemical exposure by creating safeguards to mitigate the effects of PFAS.
January 31, 2023
Chair Hansen and Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee,
We write today to express our broad support for policies that prevent dangerous PFAS contamination in Minnesota. As this committee considers important PFAS legislation, Conservation Minnesota urges members to support common-sense measures that keep harmful contaminants out of the homes of Minnesota families and the lakes and rivers enjoyed by Minnesota communities.
PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are “forever chemicals” created for a wide variety of products that end up in the homes, workplaces, and waste streams of our state. These chemicals don’t break down in the environment, they permeate soils and contaminate water sources, and they bioaccumulate in fish and wildlife consumed by Minnesotans. As PFAS continue to be produced and distributed, our exposure to these chemicals is increasing—as is our understanding of their dangerous health impacts.
Studies on PFAS exposure suggest that high levels of these chemicals may lead to increased cholesterol, changes in liver enzymes, decreases in infant birth weights, decreased vaccine response, increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer. In animal-based laboratory research, PFAS have been shown to cause liver and immune system damage, birth defects, delayed development, and newborn deaths. Avoiding these impacts is near-impossible, as PFAS contamination can result from contamination in occupational environments, drinking water, food sources, soil, dust, air, and products made or packaged using PFAS.
As we allow the continued production of PFAS, we force families to face growing health threats from ever-accumulating chemicals and we leave local communities to bear high costs from PFAS treatment and removal. House Files 742, 552, and 372 take important and necessary steps to mitigate these threats. Minnesota’s residents deserve prohibitions on known PFAS in products like firefighting foam. Minnesota’s children deserve protection from dangerous forever chemicals in their pillows, their high- chairs, or their cribs. Minnesota’s consumers deserve information on whether their products include intentionally added PFAS. The bills before you today afford Minnesotans these safeguards.
On behalf of our members across Minnesota, we respectfully urge you to join us in supporting this legislation to prevent PFAS exposure and to protect our families and communities. And we hope that you will continue to advocate for further policies that limit the threat of forever chemicals.
Nels Paulsen, Policy Director
David Pelikan, Policy Associate