MADISON, Wis. — Several Marinette-area supporters of SB772/SB773 offered their testimony Friday during the hearing at the State Capitol. The following represents only a few of those voices.

Marinette Resident Cindy Boyle held back tears as she detailed her lifelong exposure from the environmental presence of PFAS in Wisconsin. 

That exposure arose first from the City of Marinette wastewater biosolids sludge, which was spread as fertilizer for many years across area farm fields near her childhood home in the Town of Wagner. The discharge of PFAS-containing firefighting foams into Marinette’s wastewater treatment system from a fire technology facility located in the Marinette, was the source of sludge contamination. 

Her second exposure originated from the resulting PFAS plume that spread from those same facilities owned and operated by Tyco Fire Products LP, and its parent company Johnson Controls Inc. After years of discharging PFAS-containing firefighting foams on their facility properties for test purposes, the chemicals eventually leached through groundwater and surface water into the surrounding environment of Marinette and Town of Peshtigo. 

“One can’t help but reflect on the consequences,” Boyle said. “A mother with kidney cancer, father with a brain tumor, a sister with thyroid disease and a full thyroidectomy for myself…our property is impacted, my fear is all consuming and my rage almost uncontainable.”

Andi Rich placed impetus of responsibility for the environment and human health issues as they relate to PFAS with manufacturers who utilize PFAS and other chemicals. She said those manufacturers need first to prove that the chemicals they use are safe — before they are used. 

“What I keep hearing is that it’s too expensive to not poison me,” Rich told the committee. “So, it’s been really hard for me to sit through these (hearings) … and to hear people tell (me) that their money is more important than my life.”

Former City of Marinette Mayor Doug Oitzinger agreed. 

“Trying to make public health decisions subject to the impact on corporate profits isn’t ‘science based,’” Oitzinger said. “It’s bad science and it’s immoral.” 

He said the best approach is a science based one and that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services utilized such a “science based” approach when it derived a recommended health advisory (HAL) level of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS for groundwater standards. 

“PFAS contamination isn’t our public utilities’ fault; it isn’t the DNR’s (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) fault; and it isn’t the private property owners fault,” Oitzinger told the committee. “(PFAS) has endangered our health, ruined our property values and degraded our quality of life.”