Read the full article by David Andrews (EWG)

“To protect the health of people, communities and the environment, the toxic fluorinated ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS should not be regulated one by one but as a class, more than a dozen scientists, including this author, argue in an article published today in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

The article follows an earlier study by the same group of U.S. and international scientists, as well as a study by other researchers, who called for managing PFAS as a chemical class. After those studies were published, researchers affiliated with the PFAS manufacturer Honeywell International published a commentary arguing that the chemicals their company produces should not be subject to the same level of regulatory scrutiny as other PFAS.

The chemical industry has long opposed the systemic regulation of PFAS as a class. 

PFAS are often called ‘forever chemicals’ due to their extreme persistence in the environment. Over time the potential for harm increases. Studies of newer PFAS suggest that these chemicals act much like the earlier chemicals they were designed to replace, from exhibiting key characteristics of carcinogens to causing many of the same health harms. Yet for hundreds of PFAS produced for commercial use and thousands known to exist, toxicity studies are sorely lacking.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its intent to set drinking water standards for the two most notorious PFAS – PFOA, formerly used to make DuPont’s Teflon, and PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard and firefighting foam. Setting legal limits for just these two chemicals will likely take years, even as they contaminate tap water or groundwater at more than 2,000 sites in 49 states. Our research estimates that more than 200 million Americans are exposed to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water…”