Protecting our communities from PFAS chemicals

Paths show how PFAS travels from sources like industries, firefighting foam, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants into our air, land, and water

State agencies need sufficient and sustained funding and support to adequately address PFAS contamination. This includes supporting legislation that moves Minnesota from tracking the issue to taking action on protecting human health and the environment.

PFAS have been used in a wide array of consumer and industrial products since the 1940s. These chemicals do not easily break down, resulting in a relatively permanent reservoir that has lasting impacts on human health and the environment. The most extensively studied PFAS chemicals are perfluorooctonate sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). They are known to negatively impact human health and increase risks of developing cancer. These two chemicals have been phased out by major manufacturers in the United States but remain present in industrial and commercial products as well as our waste.

February 2022 marks the one-year anniversary of the release of the PFAS blueprint. The blueprint is the result of an interagency effort to develop a plan to protect human health and the environment from harmful PFAS. After significant stakeholder engagement, the agency is poised to release its proposed PFAS monitoring plan. Two priority legislative proposals support ongoing efforts to address PFAS in the environment.

PFAS community grants

Reducing PFAS exposure in our communities is a state and federal priority. In February 2021, the state published the Minnesota PFAS Blueprint that lays out several strategies and possible initiatives to address the proliferation of PFAS in the environment. Governor Walz requests $2 million to establish a PFAS community grant program to fund projects designed to prevent PFAS pollution.

More information: PDF icon PFAS community grants (leg-sy22-05)

PFAS baseline conditions study

Studies show PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment with low levels showing up in our surface waters, groundwater, fish, sediment, precipitation, and soils. Governor Walz requests a one-time appropriation of $500,000 will help MPCA determine what levels of PFAS found in a sample are “normal” given current levels of global contamination and what levels are cause for greater concern and require special treatment or disposal. As PFAS monitoring becomes a requirement of routine regulatory activities, these baseline data will be essential to developing guidance and policies for disposal of PFAS-containing materials.

More information: PDF icon PFAS baseline conditions study (leg-sy22-11)