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Bills restricting PFAS use advanced in General Assembly

Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers advanced a few bills curbing the use of a toxic chemical.

Contamination of drinking water by the toxic chemical known as PFAS has been a concern for legislators this session.

And two committees advanced legislation seeking to curb use of these chemicals and define safe limits in drinking water.

State Sen. Marie Pinkney chairs of the Senate Corrections and Public Safety Committee. She says these chemicals have been harming people in her district.

“In the legislation it talks about the fact some of the health effects of PFAS are pregnancy complications, most of which, particularly in Delaware, disproportionately impact Black women who are three to four times more likely than white women to lose their babies in utero," Pinkney said.

Her committee released Senate Bill 63, which limits the use of PFAS containing firefighting foams.

Pinkney says she doesn’t see this going far enough, and pointed out a similar bill in Maryland went further in restricting the use of such foams for any training or testing exercises.

Some members of the public want to see the use of PFAS foams banned outright, as was done in California last year.

Shawn Swearingen is the director of the American Chemistry council, which represents PFAS manufacturers. He says there’s a reason this legislation isn’t outright banning the chemical yet.

“There are alternatives being developed but right now they aren’t as effectively environmentally or safety wise for the firefighters right now," Swearingen said.

House Bill 8 would mandate DNREC to establish maximum safe levels of the chemical for the drinking water supply over a period of 9 months. The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to define a safe level.

Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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