Read the full article by Alex Brown (The Washington Post)

“‘Forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The thousands of chemicals in the group known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are found in cookware, packaging, cosmetics, clothing, carpet, electronics, firefighting foam and many other products.

The chemicals don’t naturally break down and are so widespread that they’re found in the blood of 97 percent of Americans. Some PFAS compounds may decrease fertility, cause metabolic disorders, damage the immune system and increase the risk of cancer.

As they wait for regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, some states have banned the use of PFAS in certain consumer products. Others have issued stronger water quality standards or empowered state agencies to speed up regulations. Many are pursuing cleanup and remediation efforts, with states suing polluters for compensation ranging from tens of millions to nearly a billion dollars.

Safer States, an alliance of environmental health groups focused on toxic chemicals, has tracked 203 recent bills in 31 states related to PFAS issues.

‘I have heard from legislators that testing has been a driving force for them,’ said Mara Herman, environmental health manager with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a forum for state lawmakers. ‘It’s being found in so many places, it’s not really an urban issue or a rural issue.’

But advocates want federal action to hold multinational companies accountable for past contamination, clean infected waterways and impose sweeping bans on PFAS in new products.

‘State by state is just absolutely ridiculous,’ said Laurene Allen, co-founder of Merrimack Citizens for Clean Water, a New Hampshire group that has pushed the state to act on PFAS. ‘The progress you have shouldn’t be determined by your Zip code.’

The EPA has proposed a rule to regulate two common PFAS chemicals under the Superfund law.” …