Vermont Efforts to Eliminate Forever Chemicals Closing in on Success

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According to a recent report, the “forever chemicals” that have been contaminating drinking water in Vermont might be eliminated soon. Lawmakers in Vermont are ready to move and ban these chemicals.

Vermont lawmakers have a ton of reasons to restrict the use of PFA chemical products. One of the significant reasons being the contamination of wells in Bennington. These chemicals found their way into the wells after two textile industries disposed of their wells’ wastes.

Similarly, there are more sites for these chemicals. For instance, there has been evidence of contamination in the leachate of lined landfills due to discarded materials that contain toxic chemicals. These toxic materials include rugs, furniture, clothes, and perfluorinated chemicals water-based waterproofing on fibers washed away by water.

Forever Chemicals: Dangers of PFA 

PFA is an acronym for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These chemicals started being synthesized in the 1950s to make materials such as cookware, water repellent clothes, and cosmetics.

Although the chemicals make materials durable, they are dangerous to the environment since they don’t break down hence the name forever chemicals. Similarly, PFAs are known to have harmful effects on human health. The products include cancers, immune system problems, and reproductive disorders. 

Sadly, these chemicals have been detected in several water systems across the country. These municipal water systems include ten public water points in Vermont, where the water has alarming levels of forever chemicals. The allowed level of PFA chemicals in water is 20 parts per trillion.

Efforts to Move Blocked by an Unlikely Source.

When the Vermont senate sought to handle this issue of contaminated water, they faced an unlikely barrier, the Federal Government. The Vermont House’s move was to ban the sale of products made with this class of chemicals.

According to the study, the areas highly affected by PFAs contamination include a property shared by the Air Guard and Burlington International Airport departments. This property is equipped with a fire truck filled with PFA foams as required by Federal Aviation Administration. Notably, PFA fire fighting products are preferred since they put out fire fuels within 30 seconds.

According to Air Force Guard officials, the military is trying to do away with PFAS-based foam by 2024. Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to allow fluoride free-foams in commercial airports up to the end of October. However, this order is not enough solution for Burlington.

“I wholeheartedly support getting rid of this crap,” an airport director of aviation by the name of Gene Richards said. Richards also lamented that they don’t even have a seat at the table, meaning they were not consulted during decision-making.