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FGCU launches free workshops to foster equity, retain workers; Supreme Court throws out race claim in SC redistricting case in win for GOP; as millions hit the roads, MI lawmakers consider extra driving fees; CT groups prepare for World Fish Migration Day.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Clean Water Advocates Cheer 3M Decision on Forever Chemicals

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Wednesday, December 21, 2022   

South Dakota and all other states have seen the effects of so-called "forever chemicals."

Those pushing for their removal say 3M's announcement it will phase them out is another step in the right direction. The major manufacturer of products from cleaning supplies to Post-it Notes said it plans to ensure it's no longer producing items containing PFAS chemicals by the year 2025.

John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America, said it is an important step in trying to reduce harmful pollutants from reaching natural resources.

"PFAS chemicals are toxic, and they persist in the environment," Rumpler explained. "They've been contaminating drinking water sources all across the country."

The chemicals were also used in firefighting foam, and the City of Sioux Falls took legal action against 3M and other companies over the presence of PFAS in the soil and groundwater near the city's airport. 3M said it made the decision based on changes in the business and regulatory landscape.

In August, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said it would propose designating certain PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances.

Other companies, such as retailers and restaurants, have made similar pledges to eliminate or reduce forever chemicals in food packaging, textiles and other products. Still, Rumpler argued others need to follow suit, and hopes Tuesday's announcement will spur more action.

"3M is hardly the only game in town," Rumpler pointed out. "But it is a major player in the industry space and a significant marker for its peers about moving in the right direction."

As part of the evolving research surrounding PFAS contamination, experts have linked the chemicals to multiple health risks, including increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer, as well as small decreases in infant birthweights.


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