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Minnesota lawmakers introduce legislation to ban forever chemicals linked to certain cancers

Lawmakers introduce ban on non-essential PFAs
Lawmakers introduce ban on non-essential PFAs 02:48

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota lawmakers want to eliminate potentially dangerous chemicals from everyday products. PFAS -- also known as forever chemicals -- are in things like cosmetics, cleaning supplies or cookware and they never break down.

They are linked to health conditions like certain cancers and other serious health problems.

The Strande family is joining legislators to try to make a change to protect communities.

"2022 is the year my cancer became unstoppable," 20-year-old Amara Strande said.

Strande is living with a rare stage four liver cancer. Twenty surgeries in her 20 years plus chemo and radiation.

"They can't do surgery this time. There are no more treatments to try," Strande said.

Strande doesn't know if her cancer is connected to PFAS, known as forever chemicals found in water, soil and in products. She lives in the east metro where contaminated water has been a problem for years.

"I have been living my entire life the last five years kind of in three-month increments. I don't know how sick I'm going to be in three months, I don't know if I'm going to be dead in three months," Strande said.

The state pollution control agency rolled out a blueprint in 2021 with short and long-term strategies to protect communities and families. And some companies are taking steps forward. 3M, for example, announced it will stop using these forever chemicals at the end of 2025 but there's nothing to require a company do so.

Legislators say they will take action to prohibit the non-essential use of PFAS in manufacturing.

"Regardless of where you live in Minnesota, the issue touches everyone across the entire state," Rep. Jeff Brand, DFL-Mankato, said.

And that's why they're introducing a prevention bill. 

"We must start by stopping these chemicals from entering our environment and our bodies in the first place," Senator Kelly Morrison, DFL-Deephaven, said.

The Strande family says their lives have been devastated by cancer.

"To have cancer like this in the family means everyone has cancer," Amara's mom, Rev. Dana Strande said.

They hope speaking up, will help protect future generations.

"I can't stand seeing my community suffer so much," Strande said.

Next, the bill will be introduced on the House floor. Gov. Tim Walz recommended $4 million for PFAS reduction in his budget proposal on Tuesday.

To learn more about PFAS testing of Minnesota community water systems, click here.

To learn more about PFAS in Minnesota, click here.

To learn more about what PFAS are, click here.

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