Science & Policy Blog

Organophosphate Esters in Drinking Water: Prevention and Removal

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are some of the most commonly used flame retardants in consumer products today, especially electronics. OPE exposure has been linked to a number of different health effects, from cancer to reduced fertility to behavioral problems (such as aggression or difficulty paying attention) in children.…

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Scientists Rebuff Industry-Funded Efforts to Weaken PFOA Health Protections

I recently attended a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America meeting focused entirely on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). To a casual observer, it might have seemed like just another scientific conference. Powerpoint talks, coffee break, powerpoint talks, poster session, repeat.  But below the surface, the meeting was the latest battlefield in an escalating fight over environmental liabilities that could have multibillion dollar consequences for chemical manufacturers.…

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Sinister Synergists

Synergist chemicals keep a low profile, but they are a crucial part of flame retardants’ act: Think of them as Teller to flame retardants’ Penn. These little-known compounds don’t slow ignition on their own, but when used in combination with flame retardants, they help delay fire spreading by creating less-flammable chars or quenching chemical reactions. And we use a lot of them: While flame retardants can make up 15% of the weight of some plastic electronics cases, synergists can comprise another 10%.…

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GSP Launches PFASCentral.org

GSP is proud to launch PFASCentral.org! This website is a central source for PFAS-related news, science, and events. Be sure to share this site on social media and your own websites.…

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History Highlight: When Superheroes Fought Toxics

The Avengers franchise has stolen the superhero spotlight lately, but not long ago, heroes wore lab coats, not capes. And though it sounds like a comic book weapon, mutagen X was a very real toxic chemical villain. The story of mutagen X—how it was discovered and how it was vanquished—demonstrates the important role of fundamental science in a healthier world. …

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A Huge Success for Healthier Buildings

On January 16, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to update the state’s building codes to allow below-grade use of foam plastic building insulation without flame retardants. Building insulation–where there is no fire safety benefit–is one of the largest uses of toxic flame retardants.…

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Congress opens the door for fluorine-free firefighting foams

On October 5, federal legislation was enacted which will allow commercial airports in the U.S. to use firefighting foams without PFAS.  Until now, FAA rules have required airports to use firefighting foams that meet the U.S. military’s specification, which requires the use of PFAS.  Firefighting foam is a major source of PFAS contamination, so this should mean healthier drinking water for those living near airports.…

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On America Recycles Day, What Goes Around Comes Around, & It Might Be Toxic

Thursday, November 15 is America Recycles Day, when we celebrate the individuals, recycling companies, and governments that are diverting millions of pounds of materials otherwise headed to landfills.
But there can be a hidden danger in recycling. For example, millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants are added to furniture foam, plastic TV cases and other electronics. Recycled plastic containing flame retardants can end up in unlikely and undesirable places. Flame retardants have been found in lunch boxes, children’s toys, and even soup ladles. What’s worse, they can move from the ladle into the broth, making “toxic chemical soup” less of a metaphor and more of a frightening reality.…

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