WASHINGTON – A group of US environmental groups have called for a complete ban on new classes of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) as well as an end to the ongoing use of existing ones. Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (or PFCs) are fluorocarbon connections that possess unique water and fat rejecting properties. Because of this they are frequently found in DWR (Durable Water Resistance) treatments used on outdoor clothing. PFCs were the most contentious of all chemicals highlighted by Greenpeace’s Detox campaign.
The US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce subcommittee recently held a hearing, ‘Perfluorinated chemicals in the environment: An update on the response to contamination and challenges presented.’
In testimonies submitted to the subcommittee, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Eric Olson said the EPA should use the Toxic Substances Control Act as a means ban new uses of existing PFASs, and all new PFASs.
Olson also called for a phase-out of all existing uses, with “extremely narrow exceptions for true national defense needs, emergencies, or similar urgent needs where there are no alternatives.”
Olson submitted a letter backed by more than 50 organisations, calling for a move away from the full class of PFASs.
The letter said: “States are already stepping up to eliminate PFAS from key product sectors, including food packaging firefighting foam and textiles). Congress should phase out the use of these chemicals to avoid further contamination.”
“While the most notorious PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, have been phased out of manufacturing in this country, their legacy of contamination lives on.
“But PFAS aren’t merely a problem of the past. Communities face ongoing pollution from the next generation of PFAS that have been introduced as replacements for PFOA and PFOS, trading one problem for another and creating a whack-a-mole approach to regulation.”