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Monthly Archives

May 2021

At Michigan’s first PFAS site, a tourist town wrestles a ‘forever’ problem

By PFAS in the news

OSCODA, MI – The Michigan State Housing Development Authority wanted to build modular housing and Oscoda Township officials thought they had a perfect spot. Along Skeel Avenue, next to the senior living complex, was 8.3 acres of empty land where visiting officers were once quartered when the property was part of Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

The state was offering a $196,000 five-year loan to get the project off the ground. Kalitta Air, a cargo airline that operates from the former base, offered $10,000 to help. The airline, the largest local employer, has struggled to recruit skilled technicians willing to relocate to northeast Michigan due to a severe shortage of workforce housing. Read more…

Vermont Governor Signs First-in-Nation Restrictions on Toxic PFAS Chemicals

By PFAS in the news

PORTLAND, O.R.—Today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law a nation-leading bill that restricts the sale of consumer products that contain toxic chemicals known as PFAS. The bill bans PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam, food packaging, ski wax, and carpets, rugs, and stain-resistant treatments.

Vermont Conservation Voters, Safer States, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, and Mind the Store released the following statements in response.

“We applaud our state’s leadership for taking such strong action in response to the demands of our community members for protection from dangerous PFAS chemicals,” said Lauren Hierl, executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters. “This bill adds powerful momentum to the fight against PFAS, and will help lead to the elimination of this dangerous chemical from all avoidable uses.” Read more…

PFAS Action Act Would Reinforce, Accelerate Current Priorities

By PFAS in the news

The PFAS Action Act, introduced April 13 by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is a bipartisan bill that directs the Environmental Protection Agency to enact multiple significant regulations related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The bill largely mirrors legislation approved by the House in the last session of Congress in a 247-159 vote. Proponents are optimistic that the new Congress may be able to advance it into law this session. Read more…

Delaware County sues chemical makers over PFAS contamination at three fire facilities

By PFAS in the news

The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office has filed a civil complaint against dozens of chemical manufacturers for what it says is the companies’ role in contaminating local fire facilities with PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” with some levels thousands of times in excess of federal guidelines.

The Primos-Secane-Westbrook Park Fire Company in Upper Darby, the Haverford Township Firefighting Training Center, and Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center all either had groundwater, wastewater, soil, or sediment polluted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the suit. Read more…

Did you live in Hyannis after 2006? PFAS researchers need your help

By PFAS in the news, PFAS-REACH team news

Laurel Schaider drinks Hyannis’ tap water.

“Mostly in coffee,” she said with a laugh.

It’s a small but important sign that the Silent Spring Institute research scientist is confident in the work Barnstable town officials have done to cut the amount of dangerous chemicals within the municipal water supply.

But before town officials recognized the problem more than five years ago, people across Hyannis were drinking the contaminated water. Read more…

California Expands Review Of PFOS, PFOA To Include Cancer Risk

By PFAS in the news

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is expanding its review of potential substances to add to its Proposition 65 list of chemicals that cause cancer.

Earlier this year, the state announced it intended to add perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) to the list. After the public comment periods ended for those two substances, OEHHA announced it also intended to add four other chemicals: PFDA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFUnDA.

The chemicals will be reviewed by two different committees of OEHHA’s Science Advisory Board. Read more…

Silent Spring to Update Study on Water Testing

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

BARNSTABLE – A virtual community event is being held by the Silent Spring Institute for past and present members of the Hyannis community on May 18th to receive information about the Massachusetts PFAS and Your Health Study.

The federally funded study is looking for health consequences of past exposure to PFAS in drinking water.

Attendees will be able to learn more about the study, the project goals, and meet the research team. Read more…

New PFAS health risk levels cement gap between US federal agencies

By PFAS in the news

A division of the US Department of Health and Human Services has finalized health risk levels for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are valuable as manufacturing aids and in consumer products for properties such as resistance to heat, stains, and water. But those properties also mean that they are environmentally persistent, and several have been linked to cancer and other health problems. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) says the minimal risk level for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is 3 × 10–6 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, while the level for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is 2 × 10–6 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. Those levels are an order of magnitude lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s ­advisory safe daily dose levels. For two other substances evaluated by the ATSDR, perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), the EPA does not have safe daily dose levels. The ATSDR report has been in the works since 2009 and adheres to draft levels released in 2018. The EPA is working on setting enforceable regulatory limits for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. Read more…

European Commission Update: The Future REACH Revision and PFAS Restriction

By PFAS in the news

The REACH reform recently announced by the European Commission is expected to substantially change the current rules for REACH restrictions and authorizations.

The European Commission (“Commission”) has recently provided an important update on the two key initiatives enshrined in the new Chemicals Sustainability Strategy (“CSS”): the future revision of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) and the ongoing restriction on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”). Read more…

Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk

By PFAS in the news

A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water.

The findings “are cause for concern” and highlight a potential threat to newborns’ health, the study’s authors say.

“The study shows that PFAS contamination of breast milk is likely universal in the US, and that these harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature’s perfect food,” said Erika Schreder, a co-author and science director with Toxic Free Future, a Seattle-based non-profit that pushes industry to find alternatives to the chemicals. Read more…