Seven ways we can turn off the tap on PFAS pollution – archyde

This blog is adapted from one Op-Ed originally published by Environmental Health News on November 23, and was written by Lauren Ellis, Research Analyst and Maricel Maffini, Consultant.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of highly resistant chemicals that are used in hundreds of products. Many PFAS are poisonous and have been found in blood circulation from practically all Americans. It is an ongoing public health and environmental emergency that requires immediate and extensive action.

The good news is that the White House recently opened its doors to plan to combat PFAS pollution already in our water, air and food.

These are worthy efforts, and EDF commends the Biden-Harris administration for adopting them important steps. In addition to these initial measures to combat the contaminated sites, it is also of vital importance to prevent further PFAS from entering the market and further polluting our environment.

In one (n Op-Ed released today von Environmental Health News, EDF Environmental Health Research Analyst Lauren Ellis and EDF advisor Maricel Maffini set out seven steps the federal government should take to combat PFAS in trade and help shut the tap on new PFAS pollution. Recommendations range from adopting a comprehensive definition of PFAS to adopting a class-based approach to regulating chemicals and ending all but essential uses of the substances.

The country’s growing PFAS problem

PFAS are a broad category of widely used synthetic chemicals that are effective in repelling water, resisting stains, lubricating surfaces, and much more. They are often added to clothing, furniture, cosmetics, and food packaging, resulting in human exposure. In addition, decades of manufacture, use and disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing products have significantly contaminated the environment, which has led to further exposure to polluted air, water and food.

Recent studies have shown that PFAS is found not only in the bloodstream of most Americans, but also in Cord blood Breast milk, indicating that exposures begin in the womb and last for a lifetime. This poses a major public health concern as epidemiological evidence suggests PFAS exposure is increasing Health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, low birth weight, and impaired immune responses.

As the country has moved away from the use of some PFAS – for example, due to the phasing out of companies or government restrictions on PFOA and PFOS where the evidence of their harm is overwhelming – the fluorochemical industry continues to develop new chemicals in this family into the name for Innovation and economic gain. These newer iterations – often advertised as safer alternatives or enforced by regulatory loopholes – not only persist like the ones they tried to replace, but also harbor many of the same public health risks.

PFAS are often added to food packaging and other commonly used items, resulting in human exposure.


Here are seven recommendations for a nationwide approach to tackling the still-used PFAS and preventing more unsafe chemicals from entering trade:

1. Adopt a comprehensive PFAS definition and regulate PFAS accordingly:

  • Urge all federal agencies to use PFAS-Definition der OECD to ensure a clear and uniform definition that takes into account all relevant fluorinated substances.
  • Regulate all PFAS as a class, given their persistence and their potential for similar effects.

2. Request adequate data to assess the risk of PFAS, new and old:

  • Development of a national PFAS test strategy Require companies to fund and conduct studies on new and existing custom PFAS and PFAS blends. EPA test strategy is a first step, but a broader testing plan across the federal government is required.
  • Require companies to provide sufficient data for PFAS risk assessmentwhich should include data on bioaccumulation in plants, animals and humans; Tests for relevant complex health endpoints such as cancer; Developmental and reproductive toxicity; immune, endocrine and neurobehavioral toxic effects; and exposure information from all sources, especially during pregnancy.

3. Improve reporting on PFAS use and exposure:

  • Built on EPAs proposed PFAS Notification rule by requiring government agencies to require companies to report the same information through PFAS regardless of government jurisdiction or volume of production.
  • Elimination of reporting gaps for PFAS mixtures by requiring that industry report all discharges of PFAS mixtures, regardless of their concentration, to the EPA Inventory of toxins.
  • Ask PFAS manufacturers to provide analytical standards Fingerprints of their chemicals. Analytical standards are critical to the federal government’s efforts to improve its testing methods, identify contaminants, and initiate enforcement actions.

4. Pause authorization of new PFAS and PFAS uses:

  • Adopt a moratorium on the production of new PFAS and the expanded use of PFAS that are already on the marketunless and until sufficient data is available to allow a proper safety determination to be made.
  • Abolition of security clearance exemptions for new PFAS and new uses of existing PFAS regardless of production volume or type of use.

5. Review previous decisions that allowed PFAS to hit the market.

  • Use a cumulative risk assessment framework that takes into account simultaneous exposure to other environmental chemicals, including other PFAS, and non-chemical environmental stressors.
  • Include environmental justice considerations such as the disproportionately high exposures of populations living near facilities that manufacture or use PFAS and of workers involved in the manufacture and use of PFAS or products containing PFAS.

6. Monitor and restrict domestically manufactured and imported PFAS:

  • Establish a national program to monitor PFAS with broad screening tools B. All organic fluorine methods that allow regulators to go beyond looking at one PFAS at a time and improve their understanding of the presence of these chemicals in the environment.
  • Perform controls and take enforcement actions if companies that manufacture PFAS or products containing PFAS do not comply with regulations.
  • Set up controls on imported products, as it is known that products containing PFAS, including some containing chemicals that are banned or discontinued in the US, such as PFOA, are made overseas.

7. Applying the essential use concept in the PFAS regulation

  • Define criteria for essential and non-essential uses of PFAS across the federal government.
  • Develop a way to eliminate non-essential uses of PFAS and replace all uses with available non-PFAS alternatives.
  • Use the procurement power of the administration to buy products that are free from non-essential PFAS.

We urge the administration to heed these recommendations in order to protect the environment and public health from persistent PFAS pollution.

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