Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

May 13, 2021

Sen. Cohen Leads Senate in Passing Bill to Ban Dangerous PFAS Chemicals in Firefighting Foam & Food Packaging

HARTFORD – State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) today led the Connecticut State Senate in the unanimous passage of a bill to ban the use of dangerous PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ in firefighting foam and in food packaging,

Sen. Cohen, who is Senate Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee, led the passage of a bipartisan “strike all” amendment to an existing PFAS bill that will ban the use of PFAS chemicals in Class B firefighting foam used in Connecticut as of October 1, 2021, and will ban the use of PFAS in food packaging used or sold in Connecticut as of January 1, 2024. 

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

“The past two years have provided us with a multitude of examples in Connecticut and of new research which shows just how harmful to the environment and the human body these PFAS chemicals can be,” Sen. Cohen said. “It is our duty as legislators to act on that information and to move to protect the public and our natural resources. I am proud that we are taking progressive action, and I thank my colleagues for working in a bipartisan manner today to protect our environment and the public health.”

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States, since the 1940s. PFAS are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

According to the EPA, PFAS are typically found in food packaging, commercial household products (including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, polishes, waxes, paints, and cleaning products)  firefighting foams, production facilities (i.e., chrome plating and electronics manufacturing) and in living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

Today’s Senate action comes on the heels of several recent news stories regarding PFAS pollution and the dangers of PFAS.

Just yesterday, The Guardian newspaper reported that chemical giants DuPont and Daikin knew the dangers of a PFAS compound widely used in food packaging since 2010, but hid them from the public and the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The Guardian reported that the chemicals are now linked to a range of serious health issues, and that Americans are still being exposed to them in greaseproof pizza boxes, carryout containers, fast-food wrappers, and paperboard packaging.

In March, PFAS were detected at elevated levels in untreated water from a public source used by a manufactured-home community in Killingworth.

And in June 2019, a malfunction in a fire suppression system at a Bradley International Airport hangar operated by a private company resulted in a spill of about 50,000 gallons of a mixture of PFAS firefighting foam and water. The mixture flowed into the sewers to an MDC plant off Poquonock Avenue in Windsor, and then drained into the Farmington River. Officials warned against eating fish caught in the river. 

Link to the strike-all amendment: