Read the full article by EWG
“WASHINGTON – In a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, a group of U.S. and international scientists emphasized that the current approach to regulating and managing the harm of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS has failed to protect public health. The study recommended a new approach that classifies all PFAS as concerning and calls for an end to all non-essential use.
‘The regulation of toxic PFAS chemicals using a one-chemical-at-a-time approach has completely failed to protect public health,’ said David Q. Andrews, Ph.D., co-author of the article and a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. ‘Decades after knowing about the harms caused by PFAS such as DuPont’s Teflon and 3M’s Scotchgard, our government has not set laws banning use, establishing drinking water limits or even classifying these chemicals as hazardous substances and requiring cleanup.’
The extent of contamination is extensive. Studies have shown this class of chemicals migrates through the soil and water. EWG has mapped 1,582 PFAS contamination sites in 49 states.
The new study provides a scientific rationale for businesses and governments to consider PFAS as a class, eliminate non-essential uses of PFAS-based materials and develop new products that avoid PFAS altogether. PFAS are extremely persistent chemicals, numbering in the thousands, that accumulate in the environment and living organisms and can be highly mobile, leading to global contamination.
‘The two most well-known PFAS – PFOA, formerly used to make Teflon, and PFOS, formerly an ingredient in Scotchgard – represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding and managing the risks from PFAS chemicals,’ said Andrews.
The Environmental Protection Agency classified more than 600 PFAS chemicals as being in active use and manufactured in commercial volumes, and thousands more have been identified.
In tests commissioned by EWG of the drinking water in major U.S. cities, 43 of 44 water systems had detectable PFAS and, on average, six different PFAS were found in the drinking water. Government tests of public water systems similarly found a complex mixture of four to 12 PFAS in every drinking water sample, at a combined average concentration of nearly 20 parts per trillion.
Exposure to a mixture of PFAS is impossible to avoid because different types of the compounds have infiltrated food wrappers, clothing, dust, food and water…”