Governor Cuomo earlier today signed an important law to protect public health and the health of first responders, by phasing out the use of toxic chemicals known as PFAS in firefighting foam. These “forever chemicals” spread quickly and easily in the environment, do not break down easily, and have been linked to cancer and a variety of other health problems. They have also been found to contaminate significant swathes of New York’s drinking water sources.
The Governor’s signature puts New York at the forefront of efforts to reduce exposures to these harmful chemicals. The New York law builds on the leadership of states like Washington and Colorado, but codifies fewer exemptions, potentially reducing use even further. Congress has also recently acted to phase out PFAS in military uses of firefighting foam.
Following his recent action to curtail the use of the brain-harming pesticide, chlorpyrifos, in New York, the Governor’s signature on the firefighting foam law sets the stage for the Governor to complete a strong year on protecting public health against toxic chemicals. The Governor can end the year on another strong note and deliver a holiday present to New York families by signing the Child Safe Products Act (see more here), which would ban some of the most harmful chemicals in children’s products and requiring reporting on other chemicals of concern.