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Toxic, long-lasting contaminants detected in people living in northern Canada

By PFAS in the news

Researchers have recently found that several long-lasting human-made contaminants have been building up in Arctic lakes, polar bears and ringed seals and other wildlife.

These contaminants belong to a family of chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and are used in food packaging, waterproof clothing and firefighting foams. The true number of PFAS that exist is hard to pin down, but estimates suggest there are more than 4,700 types, as industry continues to make new ones.

Researchers have been concerned about this class of chemicals because they do not degrade in the environment and may carry health risks for wildlife and humans. Our research team has measured these chemicals in the blood of people living in northern communities. Read more…

Why PFAS chemical levels are rapidly rising in Tucson groundwater

By PFAS in the news

The sudden spike in PFAS contamination in wells serving a south-side water treatment plant is a product of humans and nature, experts say.

Tucson Water could well have increased the buildup of these chemicals in the wells by pumping tainted water out of the wells and toward the plant, said one scientist and a city official. The pumping can pull more heavily contaminated water lying south of those wells into the wells, boosting their PFAS concentrations.

At the same time, other experts say some PFAS compounds, unlike the trichlororethylene that’s been in the south-side’s aquifer for many decades, can move quickly in groundwater, rather than attaching to soil particles that store water in the underground aquifer. Read more…

Teflon and ‘forever chemicals:’ The hidden toxins in your body

By PFAS in the news

What do raincoats, pizza boxes, frozen vegetable packaging and nonstick frying pans have in common? They all contain perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS). Known as “forever chemicals” by experts, they could be damaging human health.

Roland Weber, an environmental consultant with the United Nations, describes them as “one of the most threatening chemicals ever invented.”

Some 4,500 human-made substances fall under the PFAS designation, and residues from this family of chemicals are now found across the globe — in soil, drinking water, food, animals and even inside the human body. Read more…

New EPA PFAS Announcements Carry Significance

By PFAS in the news

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took three new actions related to PFAS, each of them significant to companies in the United States. The new EPA PFAS announcements included:

  1.  issuing a proposed rule that will gather comprehensive data on more than 1,000 PFAS compounds that are manufactured or imported into the United States;

  2. withdrawing guidance that weakened EPA’s July 2020 Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) restricting certain long-chain PFAS; and

  3. publishing a final rule that officially incorporates three additional PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

The details of each are provided below; however, for any company that manufactures, imports, or utilizes PFAS in manufacturing, it is critical to pay attention to these developments. Read more…

State-by-State Regulation of PFAS Substances in Drinking Water

By PFAS in the news

In the absence of an enforceable federal per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) drinking water standard, many states have embarked on the process of regulating PFAS compounds in drinking water.  The result is a patchwork of regulations and standards of varying stringency which presents significant operational and compliance challenges to impacted industries.  This client alert surveys the maximum contaminant levels (“MCLs”), as well as guidance and notification levels, for PFAS compounds – typically perfluorooctane sufonic acid (“PFOS”) and perflurooctanic acid (”PFOA”)  – in drinking water that have been enacted or proposed at the state level. Read more…

It’s literally raining PFAS around the Great Lakes, say researchers

By PFAS in the news

CLEVELAND, OH — Rain that fell on Ohio this spring contained a surprisingly high amount of toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, according to raw data from a binational Great Lakes monitoring program that tracks airborne pollution.

Rainwater collected in Cleveland over two weeks in April contained a combined concentration of about 1,000 parts-per-trillion (ppt) of PFAS compounds. That’s according to scientists at the Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network (IADN), a long-term Great Lakes monitoring program jointly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Canada.

The samples are part of a new IADN effort to analyze the prevalence of PFAS in precipitation across the Great Lakes. The network has other monitoring stations in Illinois, Michigan and New York and the chemicals were detected there, too. Read more…

Cumberland County moves to take legal action against Chemours related to GenX contamination

By PFAS in the news

Cumberland County is taking steps toward potential legal action against a company that makes a compound linked to the contamination of hundreds of wells in the southern part of the county.

The county’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at its meeting Monday to direct the county attorney to work on a contract to hire a law firm to represent the county. Commissioner Michael Boose was not at the meeting.

The law firm would represent the county if commissioners decide to take action against Chemours, a chemical company that runs a plant in Bladen County near the Cumberland County line. Read more…

NMED investigates size of PFAS plumes

By PFAS in the news

The New Mexico Environment Department is investigating the size of the PFAS plumes in eastern New Mexico.

PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals that were used in firefighting foam at two air force bases in the state. The chemicals can impact human health and are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not degrade in the environment.

For decades, the U.S. Department of Defense did not properly dispose of the foam at Holloman and Cannon air force bases. This led to groundwater contamination.

The extent of that contamination is unknown and the investigation will help determine how far the plumes extend. Read more…

Firefighters Denied Coverage by Veterans Affairs After Exposure to PFAS Firefighting Foam

By PFAS in the news

WHEN KEVIN FERRARA was starting out in the Air Force in 1991, he and his fellow firefighters developed a method for cooling each other down. His training at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois involved repeatedly putting jet fuel and other chemicals and debris into a pit, setting them on fire, and then putting the flames out with firefighting foam known as AFFF. Ferrara and the other members of the fire crew became unbearably hot as they stood around the fiery pit. For relief, they would cover each other with foam.

“As we’re spraying each other, the substance would find its way under our collars and the cuffs of our sleeves. It would penetrate through the weak points of our suits,” Ferrara remembered. The sudsy foam did cool them down. Now, years later, Ferrara and many other civilian and military firefighters who were exposed to firefighting foam that contained the industrial chemicals known as PFAS are developing health problems that they believe are related to those occupational exposures. And despite ample evidence connecting PFAS exposure to multiple diseases, many are finding it difficult to convince others of the connection. Read more…


Will the U.S. Ban PFAS in Food Packaging?

By PFAS in the news, PFAS-REACH team news

Since they were developed around the middle of last century, PFAS have been hailed by multiple industries as miracle chemicals. Not only could they stop rain from soaking through fabric, but they could also prevent eggs from sticking to pans and repel grease that would otherwise seep through fast food wrappers.

In short, they have made eating more convenient, but a growing body of science suggests that PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are toxic and linked to serious health problems, and chemical companies have hidden internal science showing their dangers.

In recent years, testing has found the chemicals in a range of foods, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow companies to use PFAS in food packaging, cookware, and processing equipment. Read more…