Last week, Governor Cuomo signed two NYLCV-priority bills, delivering a big win for the environment to kick off the holiday season. The bills will eliminate PFAS toxins from food packaging and will help reduce road salt contamination in the Adirondacks.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, collectively known as PFAS chemicals, are commonly used to make materials anti-stick and waterproof, among other uses. Unfortunately, we now know that PFAS chemicals can build up in the human bloodstream over time and ultimately cause cancer and other severe health problems. While there are a number of ways that humans can be exposed to PFAS, one of particular concern is in food packaging. That’s why the State Legislature voted to ban PFAS chemicals in food packaging in July. This legislation was an NYLCV priority in the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions, and we’re thrilled that Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law on December 2nd. Send Governor Cuomo a Thank You message here. NYLCV is also grateful to the bill sponsors, Assemblymember Pat Fahy and Senator Brad Hoylman, for continuing to be environmental champions.
Road salt contamination of drinking water is also a growing threat to human health in New York State, as we covered in a recent blog post. Thankfully, the legislation we wrote about in that post to create an Adirondack Road Salt Task Force was also signed into law on December 2nd. The task force bill was also an NYLCV priority, and we are grateful to Assemblymember Billy Jones and Senator Tim Kennedy for sponsoring it. We must also thank Senator Betty Little for her advocacy for this legislation. Senator Little retired this year after 18 years in the State Senate and seven in the State Assembly, and she was a tireless advocate for the Adirondacks throughout her time in office.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how important public health can be, and how important it is to address emerging public health issues decisively before they become a crisis. With the signing of these two bills, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature continue to show national leadership on public health issues. NYLCV looks forward to continuing our work with them in the new year, and hopes that before then Governor Cuomo can continue his leadership by signing legislation to ban TCE, another harmful chemical that is particularly worrying on Long Island and was also an NYLCV priority in 2020.