'FOrever Chemicals' Crackdown Could Hit Conn. Manufacturers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The Biden administration’s proposed crackdown on so-called “forever chemicals” used in products from makeup to cookware could have a wide-ranging impact on Connecticut manufacturers.

Last week’s EPA announcement covers per- and polyfluorinated alkyl, substances known as PFAS that are considered long-term health threats in food and water supplies.

The issue was raised in Connecticut recently after a spill of firefighting foam into the Farmington River and a dozen contaminated wells found in Killingworth.

State lawmakers earlier this year passed some of the toughest regulations in the nation regarding PFAS, banning their use in most firefighting foams and food packaging, the New Haven Register reported.

The EPA's proposed action would go further and require manufacturers to report how many PFAS chemicals their products contain and, potentially, pay for environmental cleanup.

Experts tell the Register that will place a particular burden on smaller manufacturers who will have to analyze and identify whether their products contain PFAS, and in what amount.

“It’s time consuming, it requires an expertise that most small manufacturers don’t have,” Sabina Beck, vice president of Torrington-based electronics manufacturer Altek, told the newspaper. “That’s not to say it’s not important or that they shouldn’t be doing it, but it’s a costly administrative burden.”

Beck said groups like the Small Manufacturers Association of Connecticut can connect companies with resources to fulfill regulatory requirements.

The EPA has said exposure to PFAS chemicals has been linked to some cancers, decreased fertility, impaired immune systems and low birth weights.

“We have more to do of course, we need to get (PFAS) out of textiles and rugs and all sorts of things,” Susan Eastwood, state chapter chair of the Sierra Club, told the Register. “But this will back us up.”

A DEEP spokesperson said last week the department was reviewing the EPA's announcement.