July 12th, 2022
EPA Issues Stunning New Health Advisory on the Dangers of “Forever Chemicals”
A stunning new health advisory just issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has essentially advised that there is no safe level for human exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly termed “forever chemicals” because of their extreme resistance to disintegration and persistence in the environment. These new advisories cut the level of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that would be considered unharmful to human health, by more than 17,000 times the EPA’s previous recommendation. The EPA similarly reduced the safe level of a sister chemical, PFOS, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, by a factor of 3,500.
Forever chemicals are widely utilized ubiquitously for their water- and grease-resistant properties and are found in everything from nonstick cookware to waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams. Exposure to forever chemicals has been linked to a variety of health issues such as kidney and testicular cancer, weakened immunity, endocrine disruption, fertility problems, and decreased birth weight.
The EPA’s new advisory is remarkable for the size of the decrease in non-harmful exposure to forever chemicals and sends a clear message that these chemicals being present in drinking water at levels commonly found now is unacceptable. The advisory similarly addressed so-called “substitute” chemicals that have been utilized in an effort to phase out PFAS and PFOA. And while the levels of acceptable substitute chemicals are higher, there is cause to believe that even these levels may be “wishful thinking” on the EPA’s part inasmuch as many of these “substitute” chemicals remain unregulated and unstudied for their long-term impacts on human health.
Nevertheless, the EPA’s change here brings into stark relief just how dangerous exposure to even small amounts of “forever chemicals” can be to human health and hopefully lays the groundwork for stringent regulation designed to phase out and eliminate the use of these chemicals. In the meantime, if you believe your health has been adversely impacted by exposure to “forever chemicals” you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore your rights.