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Claire Hayhow

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…

Forever chemicals no more? PFAS are destroyed with new technique

By PFAS in the news

A team of scientists has found a cheap, effective way to destroy so-called forever chemicals, a group of compounds that pose a global threat to human health.

The chemicals — known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — are found in a spectrum of products and contaminate water and soil around the world. Left on their own, they are remarkably durable, remaining dangerous for generations.

Scientists have been searching for ways to destroy them for years. In a study, published Thursday in the journal Science, a team of researchers rendered PFAS molecules harmless by mixing them with two inexpensive compounds at a low boil. In a matter of hours, the PFAS molecules fell apart. Read more…

Forever chemicals are seeping through the courts

By PFAS in the news

Chemical companies are in federal court this week for a key test of who will pay to clean up pervasive and persistent PFAS, a class of compounds known as ‘forever chemicals.’

3M Co. and other companies facing thousands of lawsuits from across the country seeking potentially billions of dollars in damages will be arguing they are partially immune from liability for pollution caused by firefighting foam, a major source of PFAS contamination, because the foam was contracted for by the federal government. Read more…

Scientists link ‘forever chemical’ exposure to development of liver cancer

By PFAS in the news

Scientists in a new study have identified a link between ‘forever chemical’ exposure and the development of the most common type of liver cancer. One specific type of forever chemical, called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), may have a particularly strong connection to the manifestation of this deadly disease, according to the study.

PFOS is one of thousands of humanmade per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and is found widely throughout the environment. Notorious for their presence in jet fuel firefighting foam and industrial discharge, PFAS are a set of toxic chemicals found in a variety of household products, including nonstick pans, waterproof apparel and cosmetics. While prior research in animals have suggested that PFAS exposure increases the risk of liver cancer, Monday’s study — published in JHEP Reports — is the first to confirm a connection in human samples. Read more…


PFAS: The latest toxic concern for those near fracking

By PFAS in the news

For more than a decade, Bryan Latkanich has discussed his concerns about fracking chemicals contaminating the water and air near his home with anyone who would listen.

Latkanich is a resident of Washington County, Pennsylvania, one of the state’s most heavily fracked regions. In 2020, an Environmental Health News investigation found evidence that Latkanich and his son Ryan had been exposed to harmful chemicals like benzene, toluene and styrene.

Now, researchers have uncovered more harmful substances in Latkanich’s tap water —“forever chemicals.” Read more…

PFAS testing needed for people with elevated exposures, US science advisors say

By PFAS in the news

US government health agencies need to move quickly to launch broad testing of people exposed to types of toxic chemicals known as PFAS to help evaluate and treat people who may suffer PFAS-related health problems, according to a report issued today.

The report recommends that the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention advise clinicians to offer PFAS blood testing to their patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure to the toxins. Those test results should be reported to state public health authorities to improve PFAS exposure surveillance, according to the report, issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, or NASEM. Read more…

Inside EPA’s Roadmap on Regulating PFAS

By PFAS in the news

Nine months after issuing a roadmap for curtailing PFAS contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has missed significant deadlines. PFAS are a class of thousands of manufactured chemical compounds that can persist in human bodies and in the environment for decades.

Mounting research links PFAS chemicals to a wide range of health problems. Studies of the most widely used PFAS chemicals show links to cancer, as well as endocrine disruption.

The EPA must move faster and expand regulations to stop the approval of new PFAS chemicals.

Key commitments are missing from EPA’s PFAS roadmap, including:

  1. Ending approval of new PFAS chemicals through the pre-manufacture notice (PMN) process and regulatory exemptions.
  2. Adopting a moratorium on incineration, at least until EPA has determined if there are safe protocols for incineration and if so, until EPA has codified those protocols into binding regulations.
  3. Regulating emissions of PFAS into air.
  4. Regulating discharges of PFAS into water from all industrial sources.
  5. Regulating PFAS as a class in all of EPA’s work.

Read more…

Fact versus fiction: ‘Forever chemicals’ hazardous substance designation is not a ban

By PFAS in the news

If the Environmental Protection Agency designates the two best studied ‘forever chemicals‘ called PFAS as hazardous substances, manufacturers will not be forced to stop using them.

That’s because the relevant law, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Liability, and Compensation Act, or CERCLA – better known as the Superfund law – doesn’t regulate use. It regulates cleanup. A CERCLA hazardous substance listing does not prevent responsible manufacturers from continuing to use PFAS. Instead, it governs the cleanup of sites contaminated by the release of hazardous substances and allows the EPA to recover costs from responsible polluters.

The need to clean up historic PFAS contamination has never been so urgent. This month, the EPA concluded that PFAS, which have been linked to cancer and other health harms, are far more toxic than previously thought. Read more…

House subcommittee boosts EPA’s budget to tackle toxic ‘forever chemicals’

By Uncategorized

On Tuesday, a key House subcommittee approved $126 million in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for fiscal year 2023 to address the ‘forever chemicals‘ known as PFAS.

If enacted, the funding would represent a 70 percent increase over the paltry sum of $74 million currently in the EPA budget for tackling PFAS contamination nationwide. This would also be the highest level of funding ever provided to the agency to address the PFAS crisis. Read more…

In-Depth: What we know about PFAS in our food

By PFAS in the news

After a much-publicized study this year found high levels of a toxic chemical class in food wrappings, many of us are eyeing that pizza or to-go salad in a new light.

Experts warn, though, that we shouldn’t just be concerned about exposure from packaged food. The compounds, PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, appear to be widespread in our food supply . PFAS have contaminated dairy and beef farms in Maine and Michigan, and recent testing from the consumer wellness site Mamavation found evidence of the compounds in organic pasta saucescanola oils and nut butters. Read more…