How PFAS Contaminated Our Water: “EPA Sat On Information About Its Dangers”

Source: Emerging Chemical Risks In Europe – ‘PFAS’, December 2019, European Environmental Agency

This is a follow-up to my previous post about the EPA sitting on risk reports it receives from chemical companies.

EPA Withheld Reports Of Substantial Risk Posed By 1,240 Chemicals, The Intercept, 1 November 2021

In 2019, The Intercept used the ChemView database to find 40 new PFAS compounds that had been the subject of 8(e) reports. Among the health effects listed in the animal studies the companies sent the agency were neurotoxicity; developmental toxicity; decreased conception; severe convulsions; bleeding in the lungs; tooth problems; post-natal loss; hair loss; depression of sperm function; abnormal development of skulls, ribs, and pelvises; and testicular, pancreatic, and kidney cancers. Despite the concerning reports, all 40 PFAS compounds were allowed onto the market and remain unregulated.

Last week, more than 15 years after DuPont submitted the first of those reports and more than five years after The Intercept first reported on them, the EPA took action on GenX using the 8(e) reports. On October 25, the agency released new toxicity assessments that found two closely related chemicals, both known as GenX, to be very toxic. The assessments were based largely on the information that DuPont sent the EPA in 8(e) reports years earlier. They also included information from a letter Chemours sent the EPA as an 8(e) report in March, which noted that approximately 80 percent of blood samples taken from workers at one of its plants outside the U.S. had tested positive for one of the two GenX compounds.

Yet in the years between the EPA’s receipt of the information about GenX’s toxicity and the assessment, the chemical was released into the drinking water of more than 1 million people in North Carolina. As happened with PFOA and many of the new PFAS compounds introduced after GenX, the chemical was allowed to contaminate the environment and harm countless people — all while the EPA sat on information about its dangers.

* 8(e) reports: These are reports companies must give the EPA which contain any evidence they possess that a chemical presents “a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.”

Chemours told the EPA that they found toxic PFAS in people’s blood. Chemours ended their letter by reminding EPA that:

” … disclosure of the information is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of my company.”

Not harm to the people exposed! Where does the EPA’s allegiance lie?

I’m telling you … PFAS are a problem. The EPA is not doing their job in preventing release. And once these chemicals are released into the environment, there’s no going back. “Forever Chemicals”

I will have more to say about this in later posts.

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