This article first appeared on Wisconsin Watch and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.
Five-gallon plastic pails holding a toxic chemical linked to cancer sat for years on the shelves of a fire department in south-central Wisconsin. Finally, in a heralded statewide cleanup, they were gathered up and shipped off.
“I don’t have to worry about something being knocked over, broken open,” said Jefferson Fire Chief Ron Wegner. “So it’s just nice to have it gone.”
But where did it go?
It turns out there are no easy answers for dealing with “forever chemicals” called PFAS: a family of 12,000 human-made compounds that don’t readily break down in nature. Removed from Wisconsin, the birthplace of the modern environmental movement, means buried in the ground in Alabama, where the federal government has flagged areas as vulnerable to environmental injustice.
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