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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The Woman Who Got Bromine Out of Kids’ Pajamas Fears It’s Coming Back

August 27, 2019

Among the technical and sometimes arcane-seeming debates at this year’s meeting of the International Code Council was one that grew surprisingly emotional: whether building codes should allow the use of polystyrene insulation not treated with flame retardant in foundations, below a 3.5-inch concrete slab. At stake was a larger argument about whether some volatile elements, including bromine, are safer for human health if they’re part of longer chains of molecules. …

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PFAS Chemicals in Food: Expert QA

August 8, 2019

Millions of people have eaten out of them: Molded fiber bowls, the popular food containers from restaurants like Chipotle and Sweetgreen.

They are supposed to be compostable and environmentally friendly, but some public health experts say the chemicals that allow these bowls to hold hot, wet, and greasy foods without falling apart are toxic to both the environment and you.…

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“Forever Chemical” Replacements on the Rise in the Great Lakes

July 22, 2019

As industry phases out certain toxic PFAS chemicals, the compounds are decreasing in and around the Great Lakes, but replacement chemicals—which some argue also pose serious health concerns—are increasing, according to new research from Canada.…

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The Toxic Water Crisis That 2020 Democrats Are Still Figuring Out How To Talk About

June 4, 2019

“As people discover contamination of their drinking water, they become very concerned and would support those who want to solve the problems,” said Arlene Blum, executive director of the California-based Green Science Policy Institute. “The question is, will people vote because of PFAS?”…

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