Minnesota House passes environmental omnibus bill, including legislation banning PFAS
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota House on Monday night passed the state's largest-ever investment in natural resources and the environment, including legislation that prohibits dangerous "forever chemicals."
PFAS is the scientific name for a family of 5,000 chemicals that never break down. They can be toxic and and are found in everyday products like cookware, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies.
The chemicals are often used in manufacturing and are linked to some cancers. The bill would prohibit the sale of PFAS used in carpets, cleaning products, cookware, cosmetics, dental floss, furniture and more starting in 2025. It would also ban all non-essential use of PFAS by 2032.
"While I feel a sense of relief knowing we took a big step of progress today, my heart is heavy knowing the effects of PFAS have already taken a toll on Minnesota families," said Rep. Jeff Brand, DFL-St. Peter, who authored the bill.
Families in the east metro have historically had problems with contaminated water, some connected with 3M disposal sites in the area. In 2018, the state settled a lawsuit against the manufacturing company for $850 million over its alleged damage to drinking water.
Amara Strand was one of the east metro residents who pushed legislators to make the change to protect their communities after she was diagnosed with a rare stage four liver cancer. The 20-year-old did not know if her cancer was connected to PFAS, but underwent 20 surgeries in addition to chemo and radiation. She died on Friday.
RELATED: As EPA announces new PFAS standards, east metro communities still working to decontaminate
The omnibus bill includes $670 million in funding for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Zoo and the Science Museum. It also intends to reduce energy costs for lower-income Minnesotans, combat climate change, and invest in protection from extreme weather events.
House Republicans argue the bill will increase utility bills and is generally too expensive.
The state's pollution control agency rolled out a plan to track the chemicals around nearly 400 facilities, and the Minnesota Department of Health has started testing for PFAS in water systems.
Click here to find an interactive dashboard where you can check on your own community.
for more features.