TUE AM News: DNR announces new PFAS standards in effect; State receives $6 million initial opioid settlement payment

— The Department of Natural Resources has announced new PFAS standards are now in effect for drinking and surface water as well as new requirements for firefighting foam. 

The Natural Resources Board approved the new regulations in February. They require the DNR to monitor sites it suspects are contaminated. Systems that exceed standards must take measures to comply, including drilling new wells or installing treatment systems. 

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a series of chemicals found in industrial and 

everyday products, most notably firefighting foam. They are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily in the environment and are linked to several diseases and cancers in humans.

The new standards limit drinking water contamination to 70 parts per trillion. They also limit surface water contamination levels to 8 ppt limit for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and 20 ppt for perfluorooctanoic acid in surface waters used as public drinking sources. The limit for other surface waters would be 95 ppt.

The DNR had recommended 20 parts per trillion for drinking water. But the board rejected that standard and instead backed the Environmental Protection Agency’s guideline at the time of 70 ppt. The EPA in June significantly lowered the limit of PFOS to 0.02 ppt and PFOA to 0.004 ppt.

The rule related to firefighting foam establishes requirements for storing, containing, treating and disposing of firefighting foam. 

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/dept-of-natural-resources-new-pfas-administrative-rules-now-in-effect/ 

— The state has received an initial payment of $6 million from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation settlement funds, officials announced. 

The Department of Health Services says Wisconsin is set to receive the other $25 million in 2022 funds later this year. The agency recently submitted an updated proposal to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for how these funds will be used to address the opioid epidemic in the state. 

The proposal includes using funds for more overdose-reversal medication Narcan and fentanyl test strips, investments in new and updated treatment centers; greater support for tribal nations, data collection and surveillance, family support centers and more. 

AG Josh Kaul says yesterday’s payment “and those that will follow must be put to use promptly so these funds can begin addressing the impacts of this devastating epidemic as soon as possible.”

According to DOJ spokeswoman Gillian Drummond, the state is expected to see between $434 million and $440 million from opioid settlements with several opioid manufacturers and distributors. That doesn’t include totals from other settlements that have yet to be finalized. 

Payments from distributors involved in the settlements will continue for 18 years and payments from Johnson and Johnson will continue for nine years, the DHS release shows. 

See the release: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/080122a.htm 

— Wisconsin has now administered more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. 

That includes more than 2.5 million additional and booster doses. 

In a DHS release, Gov. Tony Evers thanks the health care providers and workers involved in this effort, calling the announcement a “tremendous milestone.” 

“Wisconsin’s vaccine providers have worked tirelessly these past few years, and we’ve been proud over the course of this pandemic to be a national leader in getting available shots in arms,” he said. 

According to the DHS site, 64.6 percent of state residents have received at least one dose, 61.5 percent have completed the vaccine series and 35.1 percent have received an additional or booster dose. 

Vaccination progress has remained slow in recent months, but varies widely in different parts of the state. On the high end, Menominee, Door and Dane counties have over 75 percent of residents fully vaccinated. But that figure remains below 42 percent for Rusk, Taylor and Clark counties. 

See the DHS release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/dept-of-health-services-gov-evers-dhs-announce-wisconsin-vaccinators-have-administered-10-million-doses-of-covid-19-vaccine/ 

Track vaccination progress here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm 

— The American Lung Association is highlighting low lung cancer screening rates in Wisconsin, with only about 10 percent of high-risk state residents having been tested. 

“One of the most impactful things we can do in Wisconsin is to raise awareness about lifesaving lung cancer screening … lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives,”  Molly Collins, the group’s advocacy director, said in a release. 

The organization says about 4,500 people in the state will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, and 2,500 people will die from the disease. Both in Wisconsin and nationwide, lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer, the release shows. 

The ALA recently released results from its latest national survey focused on attitudes and understanding about lung cancer and screening. According to the release, awareness at the national level remains low but is steadily increasing. 

See survey results: https://www.lung.org/lung-force/lung-health-barometer 

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/american-lung-association-lung-cancer-is-the-leading-cause-of-cancer-deaths-in-wisconsin-yet-survey-reveals-most-americans-are-not-concerned-about-getting-the-disease/ 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>

Sign up here: http://forms.gle/o8FtqTLviGJPja8C9 

— A recent USDA report shows crops in the state, particularly those in northern Wisconsin, are showing “signs of stress” due to dry conditions. 

A map of Wisconsin included in the report shows a wide section of the state — covering more than a half-dozen counties — saw the lowest level of precipitation over the last week of July, below 0.01 inches. 

The report also shows harvesting of potatoes and winter wheat grain is proceeding slightly behind last year’s rate but even or slightly ahead of the five-year average. 

As of Sunday, 7 percent of potatoes were harvested — one day behind last year but even with the average, according to the report. Potato condition was 95 percent good to excellent, marking a 3 percent decline from last week. 

Meanwhile, winter wheat harvested for grain was at 56 percent, which is one week behind last year but a day ahead of the average rate. Winter wheat condition was 83 percent good to excellent, 2 percent lower than last week. 

See the full report: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/2022/WI-Crop-Progress-08-01-22.pdf 

— WEDC will begin accepting applications next week from nonprofits and other groups seeking funding through the Entrepreneurship Partner Grants program. 

According to a release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., grants will likely range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on factors such as impact and cost effectiveness. The program aims to support nonprofits, communities and other organizations with programs supporting entrepreneurs in the state. 

Funding can be used for training programs, mentors, seed accelerators, technical assistance and more. WEDC says the program has a budget of $2.25 million for fiscal year 2023. 

The first application period opens Aug. 8 and closes Sept. 2, the release shows. 

See more details: https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/entrepreneurship-partner-grant/ 

— BMO Financial Group has announced it’s providing $250,000 over five years to the Black Business Hub in Madison. 

The funding, announced yesterday, is part of $650,000 going to Madison community organizations including the Urban League of Greater Madison. Other recipients include the Center for Black Excellence & Culture, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County’s McKenzie Workforce Development Center. 

Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, says the Black Business Hub and related partnerships will “create wealth for multiple generations.” 

“As we are on a mission to help build wealth for Brown and Black people in this community, BMO is right there with us,” he said in the release. 

The Urban League in April held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new business hub, kicking off construction on the facility. The Hub aims to be an “entrepreneurial incubator” for minority-owned small businesses. It’s expected to support 200 Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, create or relocate more than 150 jobs and provide training for Black real estate developers. 

See coverage of the groundbreaking: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/groundbreaking-held-for-black-business-hub/ 

See the release: 



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<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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