PFAS: the dangerous forever chemicals threatening our health

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of highly toxic human-made chemicals resistant to heat, water, and oil. For decades, PFAS have been used for industrial applications, in firefighting foam, and in consumer products. Often referred to as “forever chemicals” PFAS do not break down in the environment and have been linked to serious health effects.

What's happening now?

Gov. Evers signed the 2023-25 state biennial budget in early 2023, which allocated $125 million to remediating PFAS contamination. Yet, the Joint Finance Committee has still not released the funds.

Wisconsinites impacted by PFAS need quick access to financial resources to help ensure the water coming out of their tap is safe to drink. It is critical this $125 million in funding gets to these communities.

In February, the governor took an additional step to get the funding out the door by submitting a new request to Joint Finance that includes important grant programs.

This is a common-sense proposal that Joint Finance members must support in order to ensure that we can get PFAS funding to impacted communities. Ask your legislator to release the funds! Members of the Joint Finance Committee must release these funds so that the money can get to people who need it.


How we got here

For years, conservation voters have been advocating for action on PFAS as more and more communities have discovered these chemicals in their drinking water. We have advocated for PFAS remediation funding in the state budget for the last three years and have built public pressure to demand clean water standards.

With Gov. Evers' leadership, Wisconsin passed the first-ever statewide PFAS water standards in 2022. The PFAS administrative rules are a significant step toward making sure all Wisconsinites have access to clean, safe drinking water. With historic levels of federal funding from Pres. Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, communities that test and find high levels of PFAS in their water now have some resources to make their water safer to drink.

We will continue to fight alongside Wisconsinites who are dealing with contaminated water to ensure the PFAS money in the state budget gets distributed fairly and equitably.

The PFAS Interactive Data Viewer

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) built an interactive tool with information about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) throughout Wisconsin. The PFAS Interactive Data Viewer combines publicly available information from multiple sources across the DNR’s website into one tool to allow users to more easily explore what is known about PFAS in Wisconsin.

Available information in the PFAS Interactive Data Viewer includes locations with known contamination, PFAS-related fish and game consumption advisories and waterbodies throughout Wisconsin sampled during targeted or routine monitoring.

Data from the DNR’s recent voluntary municipal drinking water system sampling program is also included. Through this program, almost 150 municipal water systems worked with the DNR to determine if PFAS is present in their drinking water. These systems provide water to more than 1.7 million people.



Support PFAS groundwater standards in Wisconsin

PFAS groundwater standards are critical to protecting Wisconsinites who rely on private wells for drinking water. Tell you legislator to support Senate Bill 1022 that would enable groundwater protections to progress.


“Every time you reach to turn on the tap, fill your child’s bathtub, or brush their teeth, you are reminded your water is toxic.”

mother. advocate. voter.

Supervisor Lee Donahue, Town of Campbell

Read more.


In May, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to allocate $125 million to a trust fund for PFAS, the harmful human-made chemicals that have been found in over 70 Wisconsin communities. These chemicals are tied to serious health impacts including increased risk of complications with pregnancy, childhood obesity, learning and behavioral issues, thyroid disease, heart disease, diabetes, and testicular cancer.

Wisconsin residents came together across the state to fight for safe drinking water. For years, impacted Wisconsinites and conservation voters have been calling for substantive action on PFAS.

There is work yet to be done, however. It's time to ensure we pass legislation that allows this funding to be spent and distributed to communities equitably and efficiently. We’re committed to continuing conversations with impacted community members, public health partners, and members in the legislature.


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