PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.
Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.
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Thanks to Wolverine Worldwide, there’s a 25 square-mile area of northern Kent County where the groundwater is poisonous to drink. Wolverine, which polluted the area with PFAS chemicals while making shoes, knew and did nothing about the contamination until its toxic dumping was discovered five years ago. Nonetheless, its board chairman and newly-retired CEO Blake Krueger will be honored with a business community award this month for being a role model to young people.
- Group finds ‘forever’ chemicals used thousands of times in Ohio oil and gas wells — Ideastream Public Media
A nonprofit research group, Physicians for Social Responsibility has found the oil and gas industry in Ohio used PFAS chemicals thousands of times since 2013. The group released a report that says the state’s disclosure rules prevent the public from knowing how widely PFAS have been used.
- Federal lawmakers speak up for communities polluted with PFAS — Southern Environmental Law Center
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) led a group of 14 Senators in urging EPA to issue strong guidance on toxic PFAS this winter. Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) led a bipartisan companion letter alongside 49 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The letters push EPA to use its full authority under the Clean Water Act to promptly protect communities from PFAS exposure.
President Biden praised the nation’s firefighters for battling what’s becoming a year-round wildfire season in the West, pledging to put more federal resources behind first responders. The president also pledged to stop the use of PFAS, in some firefighting gear, and he urged passage of the “Federal Firefighters Fairness Act,” H.R. 2499, to deem cancers contracted by firefighters as presumed to be connected with their work.
A loophole in the federal government’s procedures for reviewing new chemicals has allowed at least 600 PFAS chemicals into American markets despite evidence they pose serious health risks, according to a coalition of environmental and community health advocates. The group petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency saying it gives certain new chemicals a pass from more rigorous review if they’re not expected to be used in high volumes. This has allowed hundreds of variations of PFAS to slip through.
Chemical companies are dodging a federal law designed to track how many PFAS chemicals their plants are discharging into the environment by exploiting a loophole created in the Trump administration’s final months, a new analysis of federal records has found.
Discovery of PFAS chemicals in wild animals hunted for sport and food represents a new challenge that some states have started to confront by issuing “do not eat” advisories for deer and fish and expanding testing for PFAS in them.
A study published in the November issue of the Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters gives another reason to avoid insecticides: they may contain PFAS. The research found PFOS in six out of 10 insecticides tested at levels hundreds of thousands of times higher than the safety levels for drinking water set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are likely more than 57,000 locations, with sites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, that are contaminated with PFAS. That’s the result of a new study and mapping effort from Northeastern University’s PFAS Project Lab published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
- Flawed WHO report on ‘forever chemicals’ fails human health, EWG scientists find — Environmental Working Group
A draft World Health Organization analysis of the two most notorious PFAS disregards hundreds of health risk studies, claiming there are too many uncertainties to calculate a safe exposure level for the substances.