Read the full article by Laura Schulte (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“For years, Kayla Furton has had to rely on bottled water for drinking and cooking. 

She grew up in Peshtigo and four years ago, she and her husband decided to move back with their three children. They bought her childhood home on Green Bay and were excited to create their new life. But shortly after, news came out that so-called ‘forever chemicals’ were polluting the property and the family’s drinking water. 

‘Come to find out, we moved our kids into contamination,’ Furton said.

The Furton family was one of hundreds of households in the area impacted by PFAS, a family of chemicals known to have serious health effects on humans and which also spread quickly and easily via groundwater. 

A year after the family moved to the area, Furton was diagnosed with thyroid disease, one of the conditions linked to PFAS contaminations. She’s not sure if the PFAS were the source, but she did grow up in the community, drinking from the tap for years. It’s a fate she hopes her kids will be able to avoid, through remediation and legislation that would prevent industry from releasing any more of the toxic chemicals into the environment.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of man-made chemicals used for their water- and stain-resistant qualities in products such as clothing and carpet, nonstick cookware, packaging and firefighting foam.

The family includes 5,000 compounds, which are persistent, remaining both in the environment and human body over time. The chemicals have been linked to types of kidney and testicular cancers, lower birth weights, harm to immune and reproductive systems, and altered hormone regulation and thyroid hormones. 

The worst contamination in the state is in Marinette and Peshtigo, where Tyco Fire Products tested firefighting foam outdoors for years before the practice was ended in 2017.

For voters like Fulton, the positions of candidates running in a special election for state Assembly have on PFAS regulation and legislation is the key issue in the race. Six candidates — five Republicans and one Democrat — are running for the 89th Assembly District seat left vacant by the resignation of John Nygren…”