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Wisconsin PFAS Action Council works to develop action plan

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PFAS was attributed to a foam floating on the top of Starkweather Creek in Madison last year.

FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin DNR is developing a plan to respond to growing concerns about chemicals in drinking water.

In August, Governor Evers signed an executive order directing the DNR to establish The Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) to coordinate a state multi-agency effort to address PFAS.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These legacy contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

Over 30 PFAS contaminated sites have been identified in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has also identified several PFAS impacted water bodies, such as Starkweather Creek, which resulted in a more restrictive fish consumption advisory.

Recent scientific findings indicate that exposure to certain PFAS may have harmful health effects in people. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to some PFAS substances above certain levels may increase the risk of adverse health effects, such as thyroid disease, low birthweights and cancer.

The first phase of plan development will focus on collecting input from a broad audience to identify priorities in the response to PFAS. The final plan is to be completed by June 30, 2020.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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