After the industrial chemical PFOA contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of people in southern Vermont, legislators wanted to avoid another surprise contamination. So last year, they tasked a working group to figure out how the state could more proactively regulate chemicals. Now the group is back with recommendations.
Despite being recognized as an “emerging contaminant,” by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, there was little the EPA could do to restrict PFOA’s use. It took a lengthy legal battle for the industry to agree to phase out use of the chemical over the last decade. And that came too late for many Vermont, New Hampshire and New York residents.
The Legislature’s working group — composed of environmentalists and agriculture and industry reps — spent six months researching and discussing chemical regulation policy. In late January, it presented its seven categories of recommendations to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.