Colorado enacts arsenal of laws to stop ‘forever chemicals’


Colorado joined 12 other states this month, launching an array of new laws and monitoring regulations in an effort to stop water contamination caused by PFAS, the so-called “Forever Chemicals.”

In a major push to protect the public, a new regulation requiring Colorado manufacturers, wastewater treatment plants and others to monitor PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals,” took effect in September.

It is one of several new laws and regulations the state has enacted in the past four months related to PFAS. In taking these actions, Colorado becomes one of 12 states that have opted to move out ahead of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, establishing their own regulations, monitoring sources of the chemicals, and setting limits on how much of the various contaminants can exist in water supplies before they pose a threat to public health.

Found in such common substances as Teflon, Scotchguard and firefighting foam, there are thousands of PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyls, in use today. They’ve been linked to cancer, kidney disease and other serious illnesses and are considered particularly dangerous because they build up in human tissue.

Military sources

Colorado is home to several military bases where the use of PFAS firefighting foam has resulted in groundwater contamination. Security, Fountain and Widefield in El Paso County have seen widespread contamination, a fact that has local activists applauding the state for taking action to monitor the chemicals and stop them from entering Colorado’s water.

“We did it!” said Liz Rosenbaum, one of the founders and organizers of the Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition, a local group which has advocated for such a policy for four years. “The most important thing was hearing the Water Quality Control Commission [the state entity that sets water quality rules] validate that the concerns of the people are more important than industry,” said Rosenbaum.

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Journal Advocate, 30 September 2020