United Nations human rights experts have expressed concerns over "alleged human rights violations and abuses" against people living along the lower Cape Fear River in North Carolina due emissions of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, from a Fayetteville chemical plant. Five U.N. experts signed letters to Chemours—the plant's current operator—as well as DuPont, Corteva, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Dutch environmental regulators. The action marks the U.N. Human Rights Council's first investigation into an environmental problem in the U.S., The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Laurie Harper, director of education for the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, a K-12 tribal school on the Leech Lake Band Indian Reservation in north-central Minnesota, never thought that a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, would be an issue for her community. That’s partly because, up until a few months ago, she didn’t even know what PFAS were. “We’re in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest,” she said. “It’s definitely not something I had really clearly considered dealing with out here.” Late last year, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that her school’s drinking water wells were contaminated with PFAS.
Canada recently took its first bold step to regulate the production and use of a large group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a family of environmentally persistent and toxic chemical compounds. These chemicals are found in food packaging, waterproof cosmetics, non-stick pans, stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints and firefighting foams. The Canadian government released a report detailing the risks of PFAS exposure and potential management options. This report, which advocates for the regulation of the thousands of PFAS as a whole, will directly influence future regulations and policies surrounding their production and use.
It’s been a busy June in the US District Court in Charleston, South Carolina! Military veterans and civilians with a likelihood of occupational exposure to per-and poly fluoroalkyl substances, (PFAS) ought to understand what’s been going on. On June 2, 2023, DuPont de Nemours, Chemours, and Corteva, three major producers of PFAS, announced that they had created a $1.2 billion fund for water utilities with PFAS contamination. The settlement only covers the agencies that provide drinking water in the U.S. They’ll use the money to replace pipes and install filtration systems to assure that people aren’t drinking water poisoned by these companies.
Makers of PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) “forever chemicals” have a lot to hide. Exposure to the toxic compounds — found in everything from nonstick cookware and personal care products, like shampoo and dental floss, to waterproof rain gear — has been shown to cause cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage and fertility issues. Recently, previously secret chemical industry documents were analyzed by researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). They found that chemical manufacturers had used tactics previously employed by the tobacco industry to suppress their knowledge of the health hazards caused by PFAS exposure, a press release from UCSF said.
Iain Barbour first noticed something was wrong when he started choking on a burger. ‘I realised I couldn’t swallow. And I had these chest pains that I thought was a heart attack,’ he recalls. When he went to the doctor in July 2020, he was told it was acid reflux. After weeks with no progress on medication, he was then told it was a fungal infection. In the meantime, he still couldn’t swallow, was living on liquid meals and had lost four stone. It was only in September, after a follow-up appointment, he was contacted by doctors who thought it might be something worse. One rushed endoscope later, and he had a diagnosis.
The Navy has convinced the public that its ships are protected against catastrophic fires because they are all outfitted with extremely sophisticated firefighting sprinkler systems equipped with aqueous film-forming foam known as AFFF, or “A triple F.” In the case of the tiniest flame, the sensitive system was designed to automatically douse a fire in just a few seconds, so we were led to believe. Since 2015 or so, the Navy had become very aggressive in its public posturing in defense of the highly carcinogenic foams because of increasing public concerns regarding the health of servicemembers, civilians in close-by communities, and the environment. Hundreds of Navy photos are still publicly available showing the activation of these foam-generating systems on dozens of ships deployed around the world.
Puʻuloa, Hawaiʻi – Hundreds of people took to the streets today in a “Walk for Wai,” marching from Keʻehi Lagoon Beach Park to the local Navy Facilities Engineering Systems Command Headquarters, in support of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (HBWS). For years, the HBWS had requested transparency, accountability and immediate action to prevent any further contamination of the island of Oʻahu’s EPA Region IX Sole-Source Aquifer from the U.S. Navy’s WWII-era Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. In a live press conference responding to the November 29, 2022 spill of 1,300 gallons of extremely toxic aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) concentrate at the facility, the HBWS’ Chief Engineer Ernest Lau broke down in tears – and declared that the agency’s requests had now become demands.
One can hardly finish an article about Hawaii’s Red Hill jet fuel disaster before another dangerous incident happens. While I was completing an article concerning the first anniversary of the November 2021 massive jet fuel leak of over 19,000 gallons of jet fuel into the drinking water well that served 93,000 military and civilian families, on November 29, 2022, at least 1,300 gallons of the extremely toxic fire suppressant concentrate known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) leaked out of an “air release valve” installed by the contractor Kinetix onto the tunnel floor of the Red Hill Underground Jet Fuel Storage Tanks complex entrance and flowed 40 feet out of the tunnel into the soil. Kinetix workers reportedly were performing maintenance on the system when the leak occurred.
An Okinawan group of activists and physicians known as the Liaison to Protect the Lives of Citizens Against PFAS Contamination has taken the extraordinary step of collecting and analyzing blood samples from 387 residents of the tiny island who live near several U.S. military installations. The results confirm the worst fears of Okinawans regarding the military’s reckless use of PFAS over the last 50 years. Average blood levels for three PFAS compounds: PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS, were about 25 nanograms per milliliter, (ng/mL), or parts per billion, for those tested from the cities of Ginowan, Kin Town, and Chatan. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is located in Ginowan.
Four months have passed since the publication of Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes, a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, (National Academies). The National Academies are the premier American institutions created by President Lincoln in 1863 to investigate issues in science for the U.S. government. The National Academies recommends blood tests and medical monitoring for people likely to have high exposure to the toxic chemicals known as per-and poly fluoroalkyl substances, (PFAS). The National Academies specifically addresses the urgent need to reach those who are exposed through occupational routes, particularly firefighters.
Bobby Jones has been fishing on the Neuse River since he was a young boy but he doesn’t fish in the river anymore because he says the fish are poisoned. It’s a hell of a thing. Bobby says PFAS are bad, but it’s only part of a larger story of the contamination of the Neuse River and its fish. The four of us met, along with my brother Mike, at the local Starbucks over a cup of coffee and blueberry muffins. We discussed exactly where to collect samples of the Neuse River as close as we could get to the careless use of fire-fighting foam near Building 4735 on the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. These pursuits are always logistical challenges. Obviously, we wanted to get as close as we could get to documented releases of the carcinogens on base.
Maryland - The Patuxent River Naval Air Station says the PFAS foam it sent down the drain on May 16 to the wastewater treatment plant operated by the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (METCOM) is safe. It’s not true. The foams are toxic and have been released into the environment. Captain John Brabazon, Patuxent River NAS Commanding Officer said in a press statement, “We understand the public’s concern when it comes to issues like PFAS, which is why we have transitioned to the replacement AFFF like the Ansulite.” The Navy says the new Ansulite firefighting foam does not contain detectable levels of PFOS or PFOA. Few seem concerned by the 2,500 gallon release. St. Mary’s Commissioner Todd Morgan commented, “The base says the foam isn’t toxic.”
A new study concluded that high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances compounds used in pesticides aerially sprayed on millions of acres of land across the United States have contaminated the water of thousands of communities. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility recently released the results of these “forever chemicals,” which don’t break down in the environment and build up in the human body. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are “a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals,” which are “very persistent in...
Last month, independent testing of oysters in the St. Mary’s River and St. Inigoes Creek was performed on behalf of the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association and financially supported by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER. Oysters in the St. Mary’s River and in St. Inigoes Creek were found to contain more than 1,000 parts per trillion (ppt) of the highly toxic chemicals. Oysters were analyzed by Eurofins, a world leader in PFAS testing. The Harvard School of Public Health and leading scientific institutions around the world tell us not to consume more than 1 ppt of these substances daily.