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PFAS, Science, and Policy

 

Per and polyflourinated alkyl substances, known as PFAS for short, are a class of chemicals used around the globe in a wide array of products such as non-stick cooking pans, cosmetics, paper food packaging, clothing, and semi-conductor applications to name a few. PFAS are a clear risk to human and ecosystem health as they are extremely persistent and do not degrade into substances other than additional PFAS. This class of chemicals also has many characteristics of concern such as toxicity, bioaccumulation, mobility, and global transport. Increasing scientific evidence has linked exposure to PFAS to a number of serious health impacts such as lower birth weight and size, reduced hormone levels and delayed puberty, decreased immune response to vaccines, thyroid disease, liver damage and kidney and testicular cancer. Especially vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly are at increased risk.

The CHE-EDC Strategies Group is excited to bring you this ongoing series of webinars featuring leading scientists who will explore such topics as the safety of fluoropolymers and connection to PFAS, the concept of essentiality as a means to phase out all but the most needed uses of PFAS and proposed actions on PFAS within the regulatory bodies of the EU as set out in EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

As new science emerges and policy change is enacted, the CHE EDC Strategies partnership will continue this series of PFAS webinars.

December 3, 2020 at 10 am Pacific / 1pm Eastern

Are fluoropolymers really of low concern for human and environmental health and separate from other PFAS? 

Speaker: Dr. Rainer Lohmann discussed the evidence regarding the environmental and human health impacts of fluoropolymers throughout their life cycle(s).  Production of some fluoropolymers is intimately linked to the use and emissions of legacy and novel PFAS as polymer processing aids. Dr. Lohmann presented the serious concerns regarding the toxicity and adverse effects of fluorinated processing aids on humans and the environment. A variety of other PFAS, including monomers and oligomers, are emitted during the production, processing, use, and end-of-life treatment of fluoropolymers. There are further concerns regarding the safe disposal of fluoropolymers and their associated products and articles at the end of their life cycle. While recycling and reuse of fluoropolymers is performed on some industrial waste, there are only limited options for their recycling from consumer articles. Given fluoropolymers’ extreme persistence; emissions associated with their production, use, and disposal; and a high likelihood for human exposure to PFAS, their production and uses should be curtailed except in cases of essential uses.

You can view the recording of the webinar and find other resources including publications and slides here.

 

January 13 at 10am PST/1pm EST 

An introduction to the "essential use" concept and its application to PFAS.

Speaker: Dr. Ian Cousins discussed the “essential use” concept, which was developed to determine when uses of hazardous chemicals have an essential function in modern society, and when they do not, as means of speeding up their phase out from society. In this presentation, he described the concept of “essential use” which was based on an existing approach described in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. He then showed how the concept can be applied to the many uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

You can view the recording of the webinar and find other resources including publications and slides here.

 

February 16,  2021 at 10 am Pacific / 1pm Eastern

Action on PFAS as part of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: an opportunity for disease prevention

Speaker: Dr. Xenia Trier, an expert from the European Environmental Agency and member of the Global PFAS Science Panel will be featured in the third webinar in this series. She will focus on the proposed actions on PFAS within the regulatory bodies of the EU and the new EU chemicals strategy for Sustainability. 

You can view the recording of the webinar and find other resources including publications and slides here.

 

July 15, 2021 at 9am Pacific / 1pm Eastern / 6pm Central European

Throwaway Packaging, Forever Chemicals: European wide survey of PFAS in disposable food packaging and tableware and efforts to phase it out at top US Grocery and Fast-food Chains

Speakers: Drs. Jitka Strakova and Julie Schneider presented a recent study, Throwaway Packaging, Forever Chemicals: European wide survey of PFAS in disposable food packaging and tableware, which exposes the problem of PFAS contamination and sets out EU and global policy responses to address it. Liz Hitchcock, from Mind the Store Campaign, then discussed initiatives at top US grocery and fast-food chains to phase out PFAS, resources on PFAS-free paper food packaging alternatives. She provided detailed, step-by-step guidance for retailers to support this transition. She also shared some recent successes and commitments from US retailers in phasing out PFAS.

Details can be found here.

 

This webinar series is sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters!