Regulating All PFAS Chemicals as One Class

Collective Statement by the National PFAS Contamination Coalition

On June 30, 2020, the peer-reviewed article titled “Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class” authored by 16 of the nation’s leading scientists, was published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. The paper presents a scientific basis for managing the thousands of chemicals known as PFAS as one chemical class. The reason for the class approach is related to the shared physicochemical, environmental, toxicological, bioaccumulation, and hazardous properties of PFAS studied to date. The paper also discusses options for how governments and industry can apply the class-based approach, emphasizing the importance of eliminating non-essential uses of PFAS and further developing safer alternatives and methods to remove existing PFAS from the environment.

This article calling for PFAS to be regulated as a class strongly aligns with the goal of Fight For Zero, and we fully support the position of this peer-reviewed scientific paper. We also view regulating PFAS as a class as an opportunity to address a more comprehensive clean-up and remediation process under federal and state programs that will benefit communities currently being exposed to a mixture of PFAS. It is critical to stop the exposure of the entire class of PFAS and to clean up the extensive contamination nationwide to prevent further harm to human health and the environment.

For far too long, PFAS has been given the benefit of the doubt while communities suffer from ongoing exposure to a mixture of PFAS in the absence of protective regulation at the federal level. It is encouraging to see some states take action to set their own enforceable standards for PFAS in the absence of federal regulation. It is also promising to see some major companies removing PFAS from their products, as referenced in this scientific paper. However, those steps are not enough to ultimately protect public health, and the focus must be on regulating the entire class of these toxic chemicals.

Sadly, we cannot undo the PFAS exposure that has happened to our members and families. We continue to face some of the known and many unknowns of the long-lasting impacts the class of PFAS will present to us. However, we can learn from this situation and take action to prevent ongoing PFAS exposure to communities by regulating PFAS as a class, as presented in this peer-reviewed article supported by leading scientists.

Stel Bailey

Stel Bailey, a cancer cluster survivor and environmental health advocate, is a researcher and journalist with more than two decades of multimedia experience, having been published globally.

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