Detection of a toxic chemical in a northeastern Wisconsin wastewater treatment plant's sludge has prompted a halt to application of the material on nearby farms and raised broader concerns about how public sewer systems across the state may be spreading the chemical across the landscape. The contaminated sludge in Marinette also highlights unease and confusion in local communities over the absence of enforceable federal or Wisconsin environmental standards for the chemicals - often referred to by the acronym PFAS - despite at least two decades of research linking them to serious health problems. Marinette has the worst PFAS contamination of drinking water that has been detected in the state. Private wells serving dozens of homes in the neighboring town of Peshtigo are affected, many with PFAS levels exceeding a federal health advisory. Tyco Fire Products, the local company blamed for the pollution, has installed water treatment systems and distributed bottled water in dozens of...
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