Wisconsin State Legislature approves measure to prohibit firefighting foam that contains PFAS

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Legislature is taking steps to prevent contamination from PFAS, the class of chemicals that are linked to a higher risk of cancer.

Both chambers passed a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit the use of firefighting foam that contains the man-made class of chemicals, with certain exceptions.

The effects of the chemicals have been seen in Madison, most recently in a report from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that advised people not to consume fish from Lake Monona due to elevated levels of PFAS found in fish the agency tested.

The positive test came after firefighting foam with PFAS was used on the ATC fire in July, but there is also testing with this foam at Truax Field that is believed to have brought in PFAS as well.

“This is not just hypothetical, Mr. President,” said Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona. “This is real. This is something that we need to respond to.”

There are a couple fire departments in Wisconsin that have already taken this matter into their hands, including the Madison Fire Department, which announced last month it would switch away from foam that has PFAS in it. Fond du Lac Fire Department has done the same.

Senators said more efforts on PFAS are on the way, including some bills that would make the Wisconsin DNR establish action levels for the chemicals.