Thursday, February 17, 2022

EPA soon plans to crack down on cancer-causing 'forever chemicals' found in household items

The Environmental Protection Agency's administrator is planning "to limit a class of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and is found in everything from drinking water to furniture."

Michael S. Regan
In a recent story by Lisa Freedman in The New York Times about those "cancer-causing 'forever chemicals,'" Michael S. Regan is quoted as saying that because regulating these PFAs, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, is a priority, new EPA testing requirements may go into effect "in a matter of weeks."

Regan says the Biden administration will "require chemical manufacturers to test and publicly report" the amount of PFAs "contained in household items like tape, nonstick pans and stain resistant furniture," the Times article states.

The action purportedly is "the first step toward reducing their presence in drinking water."

PFAs refer to more than 4,000 man-made chemicals that "don't break down in the environment" and are linked to "certain cancers, weakened immunity, thyroid disease, and other health effects."

Freedman's piece indicates that Regan wants the industry, not taxpayers, to bear the cost of meeting the requirements. "It could be expensive, but it's necessary," the EPA chief is quoted. "It's time for manufacturers to be transparent and provide the American people with this level of detail."

The PFAs ubiquitousness in consumer products stems from their increased resistance "to heat, stains, water and grease."

The American Chemistry Council, a trade organization, claims that alternative materials might not be available to replace about 600 PFAs used to manufacture products like solar panels and cellphones, the story reports. It also quotes a statement from council spokesman Erich Shea that he council "supports the strong, science-based regulation of chemicals, including PFAs substances" but maintains that "all PFAs are not the same, and they should not be regulated the same way." 

The Times simultaneously notes that environmentalists "don't believe there is a safe level of PFAs in drinking water."

More information on dangers from chemicals in the environment can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers. 

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