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‘Bombshell’ report: DOD failed to protect troops from PFAS

By PFAS in the news

The Department of Defense waited five years to warn military members about the dangers of PFAS and potential contamination, according to a new report issued by government watchdogs on Friday.

The report represents the first time the department’s inspector general has acknowledged that DOD failed to act when it knew the risks of contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, said Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group’s senior vice president for government affairs.

“This is a bombshell,” Faber said. “DOD, in violation of its own policies, failed to act and needlessly caused service members and their families to drink polluted water for many more years than they should have.”

The Department of Defense first issued a risk alert about the use of PFAS to firefighters in 2011. But it wasn’t until 2016 that the department began to take action to mitigate the health effects of PFAS contamination, largely for the firefighters who encountered the chemicals through aqueous film-forming foam. Read more…

Efforts underway in Europe to ban PFAS compounds

By Uncategorized

There is significant movement afoot to ban per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in Europe – a class of persistent, highly mobile and potentially toxic compounds. The governments of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway have announced that by July 2022 they will formally propose to the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) that these chemicals be restricted under Reach (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) legislation.

The proposal aims to prohibit the production, marketing and use of these substances throughout Europe. Exceptions will be considered for certain established uses, such as medical applications. After summer 2022, Echa’s scientific bodies and socio-economic analysis committee will assess the Reach restriction dossier and deliver an opinion by 2023. A final agreement by EU member states could be possible as early as 2025.

PFASs are used in a wide range of products including fire-fighting foams, non-stick cookware and water-resistant fabrics. Read more…

Water contamination at Pease: PFAS health study gets $15 million secured by Shaheen

By Uncategorized

PORTSMOUTH – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen secured an additional $15 million to continue funding the first-ever national PFAS health study as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The study, which includes a pilot study for members of the Pease community who were exposed to dangerous PFAS in contaminated water, was created through legislation passed by Shaheen.

Shaheen’s efforts have previously led to the authorization of $45 million for the study. Read more…

House passes PFAS bill for federal drinking water standards

By Uncategorized

A bill setting a timeline for PFAS chemicals in drinking water passed the House in a 241-183 floor vote Wednesday.

The measure giving the Environmental Protection Agency two years to set federal limits on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances now moves to the Senate.

Middletown Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, was one of just 23 Republican members voting in support of the bill.

The PFAS Action Act of 2021, introduced by Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell, of Michigan, is the latest in a series of efforts to regulate the so-called “forever chemicals.”

The family of unregulated chemicals gained their notorious nickname because the substances can remain in a person’s bloodstream for years or decades. Read more… 

Are we being kept safe from ‘forever chemicals’ injected into fracking sites?

By PFAS-REACH team news

Not willing to rest their laurels on the theft of the future, the fossil fuel industry is now salting the earth with forever chemicals.

In a bombshell exposé from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and the New York Times last week it was revealed that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were readily used at fracking sites across the US.

PFAS never break down, a disconcerting fact that has led many to call them “forever chemicals”. Such durability comes with surprising mobility as these chemicals have proven preternaturally gifted at gliding through geological and geographic borders with ease. Oh, and they are toxic.

None of these worrisome properties proved sufficient to dissuade the fossil fuel industry from injecting PFAS into at least 1,200 fracking wells in the United States, including in states where wastewater from oil and gas operations is routinely sprayed on roads and farms. Read more…

UPDATE: Detection of toxic PFAS chemicals increases to 2,790 communities

By Uncategorized

WASHINGTON – The toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS have now been detected in nearly 2,800 communities, including 2,411 drinking water systems and 328 military installations, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group.

Previously, EWG confirmed the presence of PFAS in 2,377 locations, and the new findings highlight the growing and widespread problem of the toxic substances.

The latest detections are based on new testing completed in AlabamaIllinoisMaineMarylandMassachusettsNew JerseyNew YorkSouth Carolina and Vermont. Read more…

Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Banning Use Of PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam in October, Phases Out PFAS-Containing Food Packaging In 2023

By Uncategorized

(WINDSOR, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today held a bill signing ceremony at the edge of the Farmington River in Windsor to commemorate the adoption of a new state law banning the use of firefighting foam and food packaging that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Commonly known as PFAS, the large group of man-made “forever chemicals” are used in a variety of materials and products around the world.

Specifically, the new law, Public Act 21-191, An Act Concerning the Use of PFAS Substances in Class B Firefighting Foam, bans the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, or “AFFF,” effective October 1, 2021. Effective immediately, AFFF is not permitted for use in training activities. Additionally, the law also phases out PFAS-containing food packaging by 2023, which makes clear to the food and packaging industries the state’s desire for safe packaging and provides time to those industries to develop safe alternatives.

It furthers two key goals of Governor Lamont’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan: minimizing future releases of PFAS to the environment, and minimizing human health risk for Connecticut residents caused by PFAS. The action plan was developed by the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force, which was established in 2019 by Governor Lamont and led by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Health, with assistance from many other agencies, including the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. It was convened one month after the accidental release of PFAS from an aircraft hangar at Bradley International Airport, and three months before the tragic B-17 crash that occurred at Bradley in which PFAS-containing foam was used to put out the resulting fire. Read more…

House Democrats set vote on sweeping PFAS bill

By Uncategorized

The House will vote this week on the most aggressive pending legislation targeting “forever chemicals” as its bipartisan proponents seek additional Republican support.

H.R. 2467, the “PFAS Action Act,” would escalate a federal crackdown on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and ramp up pressure on EPA to take action on the controversial family of chemicals. The House Committee on Rules will meet today to set parameters for debate on the bill.

Co-sponsored by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a Republican, the bill is among the most significant actions on PFAS likely to be considered this year. In comments made last week at a PFAS-focused conference hosted by the Environmental Working Group, Dingell argued that passing her bill is a matter of urgency (Greenwire, July 15).

“Here’s a reality: We do not have another minute to waste,” she said. “We have to act, now.”

Under the legislation, both PFOA and PFOS — the two most researched PFAS — would be promptly regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. They would also be designated as hazardous substances under federal Superfund law, in addition to a variety of other measures. Read more…

Seattle study of breast milk from 50 women finds chemical used in food wrappers, firefighting foam

By Uncategorized

In August 2019, Vera Harrington put a quarter cup of her breast milk into the refrigerator. She gave this milk not to her daughter, Flora, but a team of researchers investigating a pervasive class of chemicals that have found their way into humans all over the world.

These chemicals are called Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — and have been used over the decades in products ranging from firefighting foams to cosmetics, nonstick pans, rain gear, stain-protected sofas, some types of fast food wrappers and even dental floss.

Harrington, who lives in an Eastlake town house in Seattle, was one of 50 Puget Sound area first-time mothers who participated in the study. This past April, she got the results, which documented nine types of PFAS in her breast milk. Read more…

Michigan Professor Looks For Environmental Justice In Federal PFAS Guidance

By PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news, PFAS in the news

A Michigan State University philosophy professor is on a federal committee charged with drafting guidance for doctors about a group of chemicals called PFAS.

Kevin Elliott, who holds an array of positions at MSU, acknowledged that philosophy is not the first discipline that comes to mind for most people when thinking about who should be guiding policy around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to cancer and developmental problems.

But Elliott said chemistry and philosophy go together. His job on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine panel is to think about how PFAS chemicals have disparate impacts on different groups of people. Read more…