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New task force to begin study of PFAS chemicals

July 27, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A new interagency task force will soon begin work on a plan to minimize the impact of a group of potentially dangerous industrial compounds known as “forever chemicals” on Connecticut residents.

The group of about 20 state officials representing 18 state agencies is scheduled to meet Tuesday. The panel will be led by the commissioners of the Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Health.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont formed the task force this month in hopes of minimizing residents’ environmental exposure to the chemicals, known as PFAS, and minimizing future releases of PFAS. The group is also charged with creating a strategy to identify, assess and clean up past releases of PFAS.

“The risks that PFAS pose to Connecticut residents and the environment command our attention and prompt action,” Lamont said in a letter to participating state officials. Last month, a toxic firefighting foam containing PFAS, stored at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, leaked into the Farmington River.

The group is expected to learn about PFAS, a family of synthetic chemicals manufactured and used around the world since the 1940s. They’ve been used in numerous products, including nonstick cookware and food packaging, because they can repel water, oil, grease and heat. Such properties have made PFAS resistant to natural degradation.

They’ve been linked to various health risks, including developmental issues in children and decreased liver, thyroid and immune system function.

Task force members are expected to present Lamont with an action plan by Oct. 1.

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