WISCONSIN, October 5, 2021: Throughout the nation communities face the challenge of managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.” From understanding the health impacts of PFAS exposure to environmental damage caused by spills to proper disposal of wastes contaminated with PFAS, there are no clear answers. While landfills, transfer facilities, materials recovery facility and composting facilities are not producers of PFAS, they receive household and industrial wastes laden with PFAS.
The solid waste industry’s entire mission is to reduce the impact of all kinds of wastes and to protect human health and the environment. One strategy for achieving that mission related to PFAS can be seen in a new informational website, www.wisolidwastePFAS.org. The main purpose of this website is to help people understand this issue and take action to reduce exposure to PFAS containing materials.
PFAS are a group of over 5,000 compounds created and used by industry since the 1930s. Since that time, PFAS have been used in abundance in household products like Teflon®, Scotchguard®, personal care items such as lotions, hair conditioners and deodorants, waterproof clothing and footwear, stain-free carpets and many other household items. PFAS were also used in food packaging, including wrappers for fast food. PFAS are also used in fire-fighting foams because of their ability to withstand heat and not breakdown in the presence of water.
In 2019, the Solid Waste PFAS Work Group started to help address the concerns of PFAS in our society. As the receivers of anything disposed from industries and residents, we take the job of protecting people and our environment seriously. More information and implications of the use of PFAS continues to become known. Managing PFAS safely, effectively, and economically has become a priority to the solid waste industry in Wisconsin.
This website is the newest tool created to help people learn more about PFAS, how it effects our lives, and what the waste management industry is doing about this issue.