UW-Green Bay PFAS conference addresses health and environmental concerns | WLUK
GREEN BAY (WLUK) — Educators, professionals, and some policy makers gathered at UW-Green Bay Friday to take on the topic of PFAS.
Those man-made compounds are commonly known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily in nature.
Experts say the impact on the environment and human health could be serious.
From the waters of Green Bay, to the water tapped from faucets nearby, Clean Water Action Council President Dean Hoegger says PFAS is all around.
“Yes, it is here. What’s amazing is over 10 years ago, we were kind of sounding the alarm about PFAS, because Michigan was coming up with hundreds of sites, contamination sites, and we had very few. And finally we were made aware of the concern because of the TYCO firefighter foam contamination in Marinette County. And now, we have over 100 sites that are identified right here in Wisconsin,” said Dean Hoegger, Clean Water Action Council President.
During the Friday conference, experts examined PFAS and its impact on the environment and human health. Dr. Beth Neary, a retired pediatrician, says PFAS can contribute to high cholesterol, immunity problems, and certain types of cancer too.
“This is a critical issue, and it’s a nationwide issue. It’s not just unique to Wisconsin. It is nationwide, and it has implications on our drinking water. It has implications for the food that we eat. So, it’s a critical issue,” said Dr. Beth Neary.
However, Dr. Neary says it’s not all bad news. “I will tell you some good things, is that some of the manufacturers are now taking it out of their products,” she said.
Officials say when it comes to PFAS, education is key. They say people need to become advocates too, by contacting lawmakers in Madison and Washington, D.C.
“I hope that they first of all get out, that they realize this is a serious concern, and they need to do whatever they can, which might be putting pressure on their legislators to do more,” said Hoegger.