February was a busy month for PFAS news across the United States and worldwide. Across the globe, forever chemicals are being identified in wildlife species while the United States recently announced $2 billion available in grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In this edition of the SGS PFAS Newsletter, states reveal their hope for this funding and vocalize concerns on increasing lawsuits related to these chemicals.
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This month, the Environmental Working Group published an analysis of peer-reviewed data that for the first time shows the global scope of contamination by the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, which may be harming over 330 wildlife species around the world.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of $2 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water across the country.
Despite years of warnings from scientists and environmental activists, many apparel retailers only recently started sussing out how to ditch PFAS in outdoor apparel and gear. But the stragglers may not be able to straggle much longer: Bans on the chemicals are coming.
At least one company wants the EPA to allow the manufacture of nine types of PFAS the agency currently restricts over health and environmental concerns, according to petitions tucked into an EPA request seeking public comment on production of new chemicals and uses of older ones.
A class-action lawsuit alleges Bolthouse Farms’ smoothies contain PFAS, after testing was conducted on one of the brand’s beverages. And while it’s unclear how they got in there, as the drink supposedly contained “100 percent fruit juice,” it could pose a serious risk to those who have consumed it.
Companies exporting virtually any product to the European Union must know if their goods have PFAS and weigh in on the region’s new proposed phaseout of those chemicals, which could greatly affect many US companies, attorneys said.
Period underwear has become mainstream in the past few years, appealing to eco-conscious millennials who want to save money and the planet. But the evidence is beginning to emerge that up to two-thirds of period underwear contain toxic ‘forever chemicals’ linked to everything from kidney cancer to miscarriage and even infertility.
A Canadian environmental group is among those raising red flags about the latest proposal to treat PFAS leachate from the Coventry landfill. The state of Vermont has required that the landfill’s operator, Casella, design and build a pilot project to treat the so-called forever chemicals to protect the watershed, which includes Lake Memphremagog, which straddles the international border.
Canada’s draft proposal sets a limit of 30 ppt for any detected PFAS combined in a given drinking water source. This is in contrast to the WHO, which only addressed PFOA and PFOS in its draft recommendations for drinking water standards, and the EPA, which by all indications will only propose enforceable drinking water standards for a small subset of the over 12,000 PFAS that exist.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it will devote $52.6 million to improving public water systems in Alabama. The funding will supplement $463 million of ongoing upgrades and repairs that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is funding throughout the state.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will make $18.9 million available for Alaska to drinking water contamination issues such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
A bill that would set up a pilot program to test firefighters for PFAS “forever chemicals” has recently passed the House and Ways Committee and now awaits a full vote in the Indiana House of Representatives.
For years, federal and state environmental officials said the levels of forever chemicals found in Kentucky drinking water were safe, but last year the EPA revised that risk saying even extremely low levels of the chemicals can present a health risk.
The Maine U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Maine is expected to receive millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. government to address PFAS contaminants in vulnerable communities.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing data on PFAS chemicals in fish samples taken from three major rivers in Maine after a national study found levels in freshwater fish are much higher than in commercial fish. The report was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Research.
Describing the issue as a “big problem,” Gov. Maura Healey said Wednesday that reining in the impact of PFAS chemicals is a priority for her administration while stressing that the federal government’s involvement will be key.
On Monday, February 13th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $18,914,000 in funding for small and disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS. “EPA is delivering on its strategic commitment to address PFAS and emerging contaminants with more than $18 million for infrastructure projects that will safeguard Montana’s drinking water for years to come,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker.
U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced that Nevada will receive $18.9 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, that she helped write and pass, to protect the state’s drinking water from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are highly toxic, long-lasting chemicals. In Nevada, high levels of PFAS contamination have previously been found at Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases.
Families fight for benefits after victims allegedly developed cancer from drinking water tainted by toxic PFAS at New Hampshire base
Chemours began testing private drinking water wells in the Wilmington area last spring after being ordered to do so by state regulators. In that time, more than 3,000 wells have been tested, with roughly 1-in-5 coming back positive for PFAS contamination. Now, nearly a year later, test results are starting to create a clearer picture of how serious the GenX crisis is in the Wilmington area.
The case stemmed from a petition filed by a half dozen environmental and public health groups with the EPA in October 2020. The petition demanded that the agency force Chemours to study the health effects of 54 toxic PFAS specifically on people living near and downstream of their Fayetteville plant.
New research into PFAS chemicals recorded 30 water samples containing the chemical in six parts of the White Oak River Basin.
Video link above.
A few years ago the City of Eau Claire found PFAS in the water in its wells. Since then, it’s been working to combat the problem. The city hopes some federal dollars could help. Since the city found PFAS–a manmade chemical in its water a few years ago–part of the work done at the plant also includes figuring out how to combat it.