Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

September 2022

Why getting PFAS out of our products is so hard — and why it matters

By PFAS in the news

When it comes to the United States phasing out PFAS, the “forever chemicals” are true to their nickname in more ways than one. It’s not going to be straightforward or swift to eliminate these substances from countless industries, even though they have been potentially linked to myriad health issues.

Found in products like food packagingclothes and firefighting foam, PFAS have contaminated drinking water sources nationwide since becoming commercially available in the middle of the last century, building up in the environment where they won’t break down for a very long time. Read more…

‘What are they thinking?’: toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in school uniforms

By PFAS in the news

Toxic PFAS chemicals are frequently used to make children’s clothing and textiles resist water and stains, but exposure to the compounds in clothes represents a serious health risk, a new peer-reviewed study finds.

The study, published in the Environmental and Science Technology journal, detected the chemicals in 65% of school uniforms, rain gear, snowsuits, snowshoes, mittens, bibs, hats and stroller covers tested, and at levels authors characterized as “high”. Read more…

‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Now Everywhere, Too

By PFAS-REACH team news

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of over 12,000 chemicals known as “forever chemicals” because they hardly break down in the environment. And they’re now found everywhere from microwave popcorn to drinking water supplies to human blood. Laurel Schaider, Senior Scientist at the Silent Spring Institute, joins Host Bobby Bascomb to talk about the research on how these chemicals are affecting us and what we can do about it. Read more…


The EPA’s proposed rule on ‘forever chemicals’ is a long-awaited step forward

By PFAS in the news

Virtually everyone has been exposed to ‘forever chemicals,’ human-made compounds that linger in environments — and bodies — for decades. Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl compounds, also known as PFAS, have long been associated with a range of health issues, yet have been left largely unregulated. That makes the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal to classify the two most common forms of PFAS as “hazardous” an important step forward.

PFAS are found in thousands of household items, from nonstick pans to fabrics to cosmetics. What makes them so useful is also what makes them uniquely risky: Because they contain extremely strong carbon-fluorine bonds that do not occur in nature, they are very durable — and very difficult to dispose of. PFAS chemicals have been discovered at unhealthful levels in millions of Americans’ drinking water, and have been linked to cancerinfertility and cardiovascular problems, among other conditions. Read more…

As concerns about PFAS rise, doctors scramble to learn about the toxic chemicals

By PFAS in the news

A major report from the National Academies recommended that individuals with significant exposure to toxic chemicals, known as PFAS, get a blood test and ongoing medical monitoring. The guidance covers a wide range of people, including those who live near commercial airports, military bases and farms where sewage sludge may have been used.

Yet, many doctors don’t know how to order a PFAS blood test — nor how to interpret the results when the test is done.

WBUR is a nonprofit news organization. Our coverage relies on your financial support. If you value articles like the one you’re reading right now, give today.

“Clinicians in the state are really at a loss. And I’m sure people are asking left and right to have this test,” said Brita Lundberg, chair of the Environmental and Occupational Health Committee at the Massachusetts Medical Society. “We’ve had our own members approach us saying, ‘what should we be doing here?’”

Lundberg is drafting a resolution that, she said, would help her organization advocate on PFAS at the statehouse and with the American Medical Association.

As physicians begin to field more questions about PFAS chemicals — which are ubiquitous and associated with a host of health concerns — there are new efforts to get the medical community up to speed on the topic. But there’s also pushback, as some experts question whether blood testing is the best approach. Read more…