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Board OKs Wisconsin DNR drafting new PFAS restrictions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources board has unanimously approved allowing allow the agency to begin drafting regulations for restrictions on firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals.

Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill in February that bans the use of firefighting foam except in emergencies and testing at centers with DNR-approved containment and disposal protocols.

The DNR must write regulations for carrying out the restrictions by September. The vote on Wednesday allows the agency to start drafting the regulations.

Fire departments can still store and contain firefighting foam that contains PFAS, said Kate Strom Hiorns, DNR solid waste section chief. They’re not required to dispose of it, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

There would be cost for disposing of the foam if departments choose to do so.

The DNR has been surveying fire departments to see if they are storing firefighting foam that contain PFAS. The agency is finishing up the results of that survey and hopes to provide its findings by July.

PFAS are man-made chemicals that research suggests can decrease female fertility, increase the risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women and lower birth weights. The chemicals have been used for decades in a range of products, including firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, fast-food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays.

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