Read the full article by Jon Hurdle (NJ Spotlight News)

“A South Jersey chemical company says it will not use replacements for toxic ‘forever chemicals’ after a state lawsuit accused it of spilling the chemicals into the environment amid long-standing claims by activists that both the original chemicals and their substitutes endanger public health.

Solvay, which operates in West Deptford, Gloucester County, announced Wednesday that it will stop using ‘fluorosurfactant process aids’ by the end of June as part of an effort to serve its clients more sustainably. It said it will no longer use the chemicals in West Deptford or anywhere in the United States.

The company has been using the substances as replacements for some PFAS chemicals, which are increasingly subject to regulation by states including New Jersey because of their links to serious health issues. These include some cancers, immune-system disorders, developmental problems in young children and elevated cholesterol.

Substitutes no less toxic

Some scientists say these new chemicals may be just as toxic as those they were designed to replace — a claim echoed by New Jersey in its November 2020 lawsuit against Solvay, although little is known about the replacements, which are not regulated by federal or state governments.

A report last year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science noted a ‘proliferation’ of substitute PFAS chemicals that have been treated by manufacturers as ‘confidential business information.’ The sites investigated included those near Solvay’s plant in West Deptford, the report said.

Belgium-based Solvay acknowledged in October that it was using unnamed ‘process aids’ as substitutes for PFNA (perfuorononanoic acid), a type of PFAS chemical that has been subject to a low health limit in drinking water by a New Jersey regulation since 2018. The company, which has some 23,000 employees in 64 countries, says it voluntarily stopped using PFNA in New Jersey in 2010…”