Despite the large body of evidence detailing the harmful health impacts of forever chemicals, manufacturers are using new versions of the toxic chemicals to avoid regulation.
PFAS are ubiquitous human-made chemicals used in products ranging from nonstick cookware to cosmetics and furniture. Commonly known as “forever chemicals,” these compounds can be found in the bloodstreams of 99% of Americans.
Historically, companies have used PFAS but covered up its harmful effects from employees and communities for years. While states such as New Jersey have attempted to enact limits on forever chemicals, manufacturers have switched to new PFAS compounds unbeknownst to regulators.
A new study from June 2020 published in Science found that New Jersey soil samples were contaminated by ClPFPECA, or chloroperfluoropolyether carboxylate, a new under-studied forever chemical. The authors identified a New Jersey plant of Solvay Specialty Polymers USA as the likely source of ClPFPECA contamination in the state.
An analysis of the Solvay case by Consumer Reports revealed the difficult regulatory conversation regarding new forever chemicals. CR found that Solvay has used new forever chemicals for years without implementing an official way to measure their environmental impacts. According to a directive from the state of New Jersey, Solvay knew it was discharging “large amounts” of forever chemicals into the environment as early as 1991.
Federal regulation of forever chemicals has stalled and recent state regulation only covers currently known and studied PFAS compounds.
“We don’t want to continue on this toxic treadmill where one PFAS chemical is phased out only to be replaced by one of literally thousands of others that have similar chemical structures and can reasonably be expected to pose similar environmental and health risks,” Erik Olson, senior strategic director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told CR.
While groups like the American Chemistry Council believe newer PFAS chemicals are safer, new versions may still have the same negative impacts on the environment as well as human health. According to CR, some scientists argue that all forever chemicals should be regulated as one class with the same standard of restriction.
Source: NowThis News / YouTube
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