In an article published on April 10, 2019 by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, reporter Lisa Martine Jenkins informed that on March 27, 2019, the U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO) Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) “has called on Congress to halt the introduction of new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) until there is ‘sufficient scientific information’ on their toxicity and persistence in the environment.”

PEER is concerned about the “rapid influx of short-chain substitute PFASs onto the market” (FPF reported) that has been occurring following the voluntary phase-out of two long-chain PFASs (perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS, CAS 1763-23-1), FPF reported). Because this situation makes it “impossible” for public health agencies “to keep up with toxicology assessments in time to protect the public,” PEER asks for adoption of a ‘moratorium’ on the introduction of new PFAS molecules. Furthermore, manufacturers should be required “to contribute to a research fund for risk assessments by toxicologists not affiliated with industry.”

David Andrews, senior scientist at the NGO Environmental Working Group (EWG), commented that the industry should not be allowed “to substitute versions of chemicals known to be hazardous with new formulations that haven’t been adequately tested for safety and may be just as hazardous.” A representative of the industry organization FluoroCouncil, Robert Simon, countered that PFASs should not be regulated as a class, because this is “not only misleading the public,” but is also “scientifically inaccurate.”

Meanwhile, in a statement released on April 1, 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) announced their plans to fund studies on the human health effects of several PFAS, particularly via drinking water exposure. In an article published by Chemical Watch on April 11, 2019, Lisa Martine Jenkins summarized that the planned research “will look at the associations between PFAS compounds and lipids; renal function; kidney disease; thyroid hormones and disease; liver function and disease; glycaemic parameters; diabetes; and immune response and function in both children and adults.” In a statement published on April 4, 2019, PEER criticized the omission of carcinogenic effects from the study plan and asked CDC director Robert Redfield to “intervene to ensure that the study addresses the cancer risks of exposure to PFAS . . . or to lay out an alternative plan for the CDC to study cancer and PFAS.”

Read more

PEER (March 27, 2019). “PFAS use in U.S. skyrockets.

Lisa Martine Jenkins (April 10, 2019). “NGO seeks ‘moratorium’ on new PFASs in US.Chemical Watch

CDC (April 1, 2019). “CDC and ATSDR announce funding for study of health effects of PFAS in drinking water.

PEER (April 4, 2019). “CDC punts on studying PFAS cancer risks.

Lisa Martine Jenkins (April 11, 2019). “US agencies set to study health effects of PFASs.Chemical Watch