In October, PFAS concerns continue to rise across North America and even globally. The widespread exposure of wildlife species to forever chemicals has scientists worried about global ecosystems while PFAS is linked to another major health risk. Across the United States, these toxic chemicals continue to pop up in drinking water and clothing. Dive into the October issue of our PFAS newsletter below.
Breaking PFAS News
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While the health impacts of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFAS, are well known in humans, a new study reports how they affect a wide range of wildlife species. A new study published September 26th in The Science of the Total Environment documents how exposure affects animals in the wild and includes an updated map pinpointing wildlife exposure to PFAS on every continent, with hotspots in the U.S., Europe, China and Australia.
As lawmakers around the world weigh bans of cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” many manufacturers are pushing back, saying there often is no substitute for the compounds. Minnesota and Maine have passed legislation to effectively outlaw the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in nearly all products by the early 2030s. Dozens of other states are also considering curbing their use. And the European Union’s Chemical Agency has proposed a widespread ban.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized reporting and recordkeeping requirements for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In accordance with obligations under TSCA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, EPA is requiring any person that manufactures (including import) or has manufactured (including imported) PFAS or PFAS-containing articles in any year since January 1, 2011, to electronically report information regarding PFAS uses, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards.
Nearly everyone in the United States is exposed to synthetic chemicals known as PFAS. Now, a new study published in eBioMedicine reports a link between PFAS exposure and increased risk of thyroid cancer. The researchers reported that exposure to a certain type of PFAS, called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (n-PFOS), raised the risk of thyroid cancer by 56%.
Farmers from across the country spoke out this week on the impacts of PFAS contamination on their farms, calling on lawmakers to pass protections and provide restitution to those afflicted. While members of Congress work on revisions to the latest farm bill, farmers, researchers and environmental health advocates are calling on state lawmakers to add protections for farmers facing contamination, as members of Congress work to advance the Relief for Farmers hit with PFAS Act, led by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
A leading global supplier of zippers discovered PFAS, per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances, in the paint used on some of its products – an example of how difficult it is for companies to remove the toxic chemicals from products ahead of looming US bans. Tokyo-based YKK Corp. alerted its customers to the PFAS on some waterproof zippers and other products in the first half of the year, although the discovery is only being reported publicly for the first time now.
California’s attorney general Rob Bonta has issued an enforcement advisory letter to food packaging and cookware manufacturers and distributors, notifying them of their legal duty to disclose PFAS in their products.
Governor Gavin Newsom passed an opportunity to limit the use of so-called “forever chemicals” in many plastic products when he vetoed a bill banning them from synthetic lawns. His veto of an environmental bill that narrowly passed the Legislature underscored California’s controversial guidelines on plastic turf that some homeowners, schools and businesses use in place of grass in one state.
Two class-action lawsuits filed Wednesday allege Connecticut’s two largest water suppliers, Aquarion and Connecticut Water Co., knowingly provided water containing toxic chemicals to state residents.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced that it has received a $5 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the State’s effort to address PFAS contamination. The award was made possible through the Federal Fiscal Year 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, introduced in the House by Congresswoman Pingree and supported by the Maine delegation.
“Forever chemicals” have been used in Pennsylvania fracking wells, but it’s impossible to know how widespread contamination could be, according to a new report. The report, published today by Physicians for Social Responsibility, an environmental health advocacy group, found eight documented cases of the group of chemicals known as PFAS used in unconventional gas wells between 2012 and 2015.
West Virginia will receive federal funds to help eliminate “forever chemicals” from drinking water. The Department of Environmental Protection will receive $1 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address PFAS in drinking water sources. The state agency will use the funds to engage with communities in the Northern and Eastern panhandles and develop PFAS Action Plans.
Environmental groups and residents living with PFAS contamination urged the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to prioritize the benefits of its proposed groundwater standards for the chemicals over any economic effects on industry.