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Monthly Archives

February 2021

State officials flagged homes for possible PFAS contamination eight months before telling residents

By | PFAS in the news

TRAVERSE CITY — Public records show eight months elapsed between when state and local officials began corresponding about potential drinking water contamination in the Pine Grove neighborhood and when they told residents.

Timelines posted on both state and airport websites show the official investigation of PFAS pollution at Cherry Capital Airport and the adjacent U.S. Coast Guard Air Station and possible impacts on homes in the nearby neighborhood began in February 2020. But state and local officials waited until October to disclose details about the contamination risk to the residents of the approximately 20 homes suspected of daily use of well water. Read more…

‘Forever chemicals’ found in Los Alamos waters

By | PFAS in the news

For nearly eight decades, Los Alamos National Laboratory has contaminated waters and soils with myriad hazardous chemicals and radioactive waste. Now, testing by scientists around the mesa-top nuclear weapons lab reveals widespread—and in some instances, extremely high—levels of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

Most of the samples they collected revealed just traces of various members of the PFAS family, including perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). But some water samples ranged from 4,130 parts per trillion to 4,290,000 parts per trillion. Read more…

5G’s Society-Changing Promise Carries ‘Forever Chemicals’ Price

By | PFAS in the news

Hank Schwedes was driving in heavy traffic near his Morrisville, Pa., home when the car ahead of him suddenly stopped—and to Schwedes’ surprise, so did his.

“I wasn’t stopping quickly enough, so my car reacted before I did,” said Schwedes, who hadn’t known until that moment that his new Subaru Outback was equipped with a futuristic crash prevention system. “It’s a good safety feature.”

The feature relies on information traveling instantaneously to the car’s braking system, the type of data-transfer speed that will allow nascent 5G wireless networks to transform how we work, play, and make money.

But key to delivering data at lightning speed are members of the PFAS family of synthetic compounds linked to health problems and lawsuits. And that’s an issue for some who study the so-called forever chemicals. Read more…

Groups Urge Immediate Action by EPA To Improve PFAS Disposal Guidance for Communities

By | PFAS in the news

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency must take a series of steps to protect public health and the environment from the toxic fluorinated “forever chemicals” known as PFAS from being incinerated or dumped in landfills, wrote more than 30 environmental and public health organizations in comments submitted to the agency this week.

The groups provided comments on the EPA’s interim guidance, released by the former Trump administration in December 2020, on the destruction and disposal of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and materials containing the chemical compounds. Read more…

I tested my tap water, household products and cat for toxic ‘forever chemicals’

By | PFAS in the news, PFAS-REACH team news

After spending several months reporting on the PFAS crisis, I had an alarming realization: taco night might be poisoning me.

I learned that the type of nonstick pans that I used to fry the fish usually contain the toxic chemicals, also called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Research alerted me to their use in some types of parchment paper, which I used to roll tortillas, while the aluminum foil in which I wrapped leftovers raised a red flag with its “nonstick” label. For dessert, I purchased cookies that a local bakery packed in the type of paper bags sometimes treated with PFAS, and the chemicals may have been in my tap water and fish. Read more…

PA American Water sues manufacturers of toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’

By | PFAS in the news

One of Pennsylvania’s largest water utilities has sued 3M, DuPont and a host of other companies, alleging they knew — or should have known — that so-called “forever chemicals” they manufactured and distributed posed a hazard to the public.

The lawsuit, filed by Pennsylvania American Water, is seeking compensation for its ongoing cost to treat drinking water supplies across the state that have been tainted by toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS for short) that have been linked to a variety of birth defects, cancers and other health effects. Read more…

Firefighters’ Catch-22: Protective gear full of carcinogens

By | PFAS in the news

Firefighters are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals in the very clothing and gear that is meant to protect them, a paradox that stems from standards set under industry influence.

Cancer is already a leading killer of firefighters, yet the standards for water-resistant uniforms, known as turnout gear, call for them to contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — a highly toxic class of chemicals linked to a wide variety of health problems even at very low doses. Read more…

Fire chiefs seek funding for firefighting foam removal

By | PFAS in the news

MARINETTE—Fire chiefs across Wisconsin are working with state governmental leaders to secure funding for the collection and disposal of firefighting foam that carry dangerous levels of PFAS.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemical compounds that, due to their unique properties, are widely used in industry and the production of everyday products like nonstick coatings for cookware, stain-repellent coatings for clothes and carpeting, detergents, cleaning products and firefighting foams. Read more…

‘Am I going to regret it?’: forever chemicals dilemma for breastfeeding mothers

By | PFAS in the news

Many health experts and advocates say breastfeeding is the best choice for babies but the threat of passing on contamination from PFAS is prompting new questions

Maryann Jacobs’ heart was pounding as she opened her letterbox one snowy morning last year in Hoosick Falls, a small town in upstate New York bordering Vermont and Massachusetts.

Inside was an envelope from the New York state department of health which she knew would reveal the results from a second round of testing for several chemicals that are part of a group of about 5,000 perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS (often referred to as “forever chemicals”), in her family’s blood. Read more…