PFAS in drinking water: the need for a coordinated strategy

More than six million Americans are drinking water polluted with highly fluorinated chemicals. These substances, used as stain and water repellents and in fighting aviation fires, are associated with serious health problems including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, high cholesterol, and decreased response to vaccines.

Our recent letter “Proposal for coordinated health research in PFAS-contaminated communities in the United States”, makes the case for a coordinated strategy to study health effects of these chemicals and how to reduce exposure.  This strategy would provide impacted communities with the education, blood testing, health studies, and medical monitoring that they are requesting.

The letter, sent to legislators on key committees in the House and Senate and impacted regions, was signed by 39 leading scientists, physicians, and public health professionals.  The Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration were also recipients because the firefighting foams used at military bases and airports are responsible for a major share of the pollution.

The letter was also published as a peer reviewed commentary in the journal Environmental Health (link), on Nov. 14, 2017.


In the Media

Signatories

This statement is signed by the individual scientists and other professionals listed separately below. Please note that the views are those of the authors and signatories; institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Signatories

  1. Lutz Ahrens, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. Alfredo Alder, PhD, Department of Environmental Chemistry, EAWAG, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  3. David Andrews, PhD, Senior Scientist, Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC, USA
  4. Andrea Baccarelli, M.D. Ph.D., Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA
  5. Urs Berger, PhD, Senior Scientist, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
  6. Joseph M. Braun, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  7. Phil Brown, PhD, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. Courtney Carignan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  9. David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, A Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization, University at Albany, Rensselaer, New York, USA
  10. Perry Cohn, PhD MPH, Research Scientist (Retired), New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey, USA
  11. Ian Cousins, PhD, Professor and Group Leader, Department of Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  12. Robert Delaney, Department of Defense and State Memorandum of Agreement Coordinator, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan, USA
  13. Jamie DeWitt, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
  14. Miriam Diamond, PhD, Professor,, Department of Geography & Planning and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  15. Alan Ducatman, MD MSc, Professor, School of Public Health, West Virginia University Morgantown, WV, USA
  16. Tracey Easthope, MPH, Safer Chemicals Leader, Health Care Without Harm, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  17. Susan Fisher, PhD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
  18. Russ Hauser, MD, ScD, MPH, Acting Chair, Department of Environmental Health
    Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  19. Rakesh Kanda, PhD, Professor, Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, United Kingdom
  20. Detlef Knappe, PhD, Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  21. Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, Dean for Global Health, Professor of Environmental Medicine, Public Health and Pediatrics, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA
  22. Rainer Lohmann, PhD, Professor, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA
  23. Matthew MacLeod, PhD, Professor, Department of Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  24. Olwenn Martin, PhD, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, United Kingdom
  25. Graham Peaslee, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
  26. Laurel Schaider, PhD, Research Scientist, Silent Spring Institute, Newton, MA, USA
  27. Martin Scheringer, DSc, Professor, RECETOX, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  28. Emma Schymanski, PhD, Principle Investigator, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  29. Ted Schettler, MD MPH, Science Director, Science and Environmental Health Network, Bolinas, California, USA
  30. Margaret Sedlak, MS, Senior Program Manager, Bay Regional Monitoring Program, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Richmond, California, USA
  31. Elsie Sunderland, PhD, Professor, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  32. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, Senior Scientist, Bay Regional Monitoring Program, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Richmond, California, USA
  33. Marc-André Verner, PhD, Assistant Professor, Université de Montréal Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM), Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  34. Frank A. von Hippel, PhD, Professor of Ecotoxicology, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
  35. Graham White, PhD, Senior Chemist Evaluator, New Substances Assessment and Control Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  36. Karin Wiberg, PhD, Professor in Organic Environmental Chemistry, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala, Sweden
  37. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, Professor and Director, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, Department of Ob/Gyn & the Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco