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Monthly Archives

November 2021

Food Packaging PFAS Ban Introduced in Congress

By PFAS in the news

On November 18, 2021, the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act (“Act”) was introduced in the Senate and House, which proposes a PFAS ban for food packaging in the United States. The bill, while incredibly brief, would accelerate efforts already underway by the food packaging industry to develop feasible substitutes for PFAS in its products. Food packaging companies, though, should not assume that a ban on PFAS in food packaging or a voluntary phase out of PFAS will result in protection from future lawsuits. Read more…

Biden Infrastructure Act Provides $10 Billion for PFAS Issues

By PFAS in the news

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“Act”), a sweeping $1.2 trillion piece of legislation that advances some of President Biden’s campaign promises into action. One component of the legislation is $10 billion set aside specifically for PFAS drinking water issues. While the money is significantly more than any funding ever set aside by the U.S. government to address PFAS issues, the funds will likely represent only a fraction of the money needed to address PFAS issues nationwide. Nevertheless, companies with current or legacy PFAS pollution concerns would be well advised to pay attention to the details of the Act, as well as some of the future economic effects of the $10 billion kick start seeding funding, as the longer-term effects could result in more litigation against PFAS polluters. Read more…

House Passes Build Back Better Bill to Protect Firefighters from ‘Forever Chemicals’

By PFAS in the news

The Build Back Better bill passed by the House of Representatives today includes $95 million for local fire departments to purchase firefighting foam and gear made without the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

‘Firefighters are among those most highly exposed to harms from PFAS through their protective gear and firefighting foam, but many local fire departments lack the resources to switch to PFAS-free alternatives,’ said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.

Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) led the effort to include the funding in the Build Back Better bill, along with nearly 70 other members of Congress. The $1.75 trillion legislation is a broad social spending pill that the Senate will now consider.

Studies show that firefighters have higher levels of PFAS in their blood serum than the average American. PFAS are linked to various health harms, including some kinds of cancerreproductive harms and reduced effectiveness of vaccines. Read more…

Bipartisan Bill to Ban PFAS Chemicals in Food Containers Introduced to Congress Today

By PFAS in the news

Today the bipartisan Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Don Young (R-Alaska).  The legislation will ban the use of any perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) as a food contact substance.

The Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act would ban the use of toxic PFAS in food containers and cookware. The bill empowers the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to deem PFAS substances in any food containers or cookware as unsafe. The bill gives the FDA until 2022 to enforce this ban. Read more…

Two ‘Forever Chemicals’ More Toxic Than Previously Thought: EPA Drafts

By PFAS in the news

New draft reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that two ‘forever chemicals’ are more toxic than previously thought, and that one is likely carcinogenic to humans.

The drafts found the safe levels of ingestion for chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are much lower than the agency had found in prior assessments.

The agency also found that PFOA is ‘likely’ carcinogenic to humans. This is a step up from before, as it has previously said that there is ‘suggestive’ evidence that the substance can cause cancer. Read more…

Exposed to Contaminated Water at Pease? Health Officials Urge Signing Up for Health Study

By PFAS in the news, PFAS-REACH team news

Health officials are hosting an event at the Pease Tradeport food court Tuesday to help people to enroll in the ongoing Pease Health Study for people exposed to PFAS in drinking water at the former Pease Air Force Base.

Staff will be on site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the 14 Manchester Square food court in Portsmouth to ‘screen people for eligibility, schedule appointments and answer questions from the community,’ according to a press release sent out by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agencies conducting the study. Read more…

How a Lab Works to See and Destroy the Harmful Chemicals Known as PFAS

By PFAS in the news

Inside a nondescript building nestled in a business park in New Castle, Delaware, a small group of scientists were testing water samples recently, to see whether they had been contaminated by the very large class of toxic chemicals known as PFAS.

Chief scientist Chuck Powley walked into a noisy room — it sounded as if airplanes were flying overhead. He pointed to the equipment helping him and his colleagues achieve their goals: to identify PFAS and find a way to remediate and destroy them.

To the lay observer, the devices looked like contraptions connected to test tubes, bottles, and wiring. In actuality, they were tools for precision chemical analysis.

‘This right here, this is what’s called liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. And this … was commercialized around 2000. Before 2000, the tools to look at PFAS at very low levels did not exist,’ said Powley, a former DuPont chemist. ‘So once this was commercialized, we could then look for part per trillion levels of the PFAS and that was in water and soil and blood. And that’s the reason why, even though PFAS have been around since the 1950s, we really didn’t know we had a problem until this was commercialized. So this was a game-changer, and that was around the time I got into the PFAS field as well.’ Read more…

3M Fails to Overturn Regulators’ Shutdown of PFAS Production in Belgium

By PFAS in the news

A Belgian court has rejected 3M’s plea to overturn a recent ban on PFAS chemical production at its plant near Antwerp.

Environmental regulators for the Flemish regional government in Belgium two weeks ago ordered 3M to halt production of PFAS. It appears to be the first time any regulator globally has taken such action over the controversial class of chemicals.

In response, 3M Belgium requested an ‘urgent’ suspension of the PFAS ban until a dispute with the Flemish government over the chemicals is resolved. On Friday, Belgium’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, rejected 3M’s plea. Read more…

3M PFAS Production Shut Down in Belgium By Environmental Regulators

By PFAS in the news

3M has temporarily shut down some operations at a factory in Belgium after environmental regulators there banned emissions of PFAS.

It appears to be the first time any regulator globally has moved to stop production of PFAS, a controversial class of chemicals that 3M pioneered decades ago.

Amid a dispute over water and soil pollution, the Flemish environmental agency issued a new safety measure on Oct. 29 that prohibits emissions of all forms of PFAS from 3M’s factory in Zwijndrecht, a city in the northern part of the country in the province of Antwerp. Read more…