PFAS news roundup

August 6: Senate infrastructure bill includes $10 billion for PFAS cleanup, FDA fails to ban toxic ‘forever chemicals’ from food containers and more

On Sunday, senators introduced a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $10 billion to clean up the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

The bill includes $5 billion to help small and disadvantaged communities address PFAS in drinking water. It contains $4 billion to help drinking water utilities remove the chemicals from drinking water supplies or to connect well owners to local water systems. And it includes $1 billion to help wastewater utilities address contamination PFAS in wastewater discharges.

“This funding represents a historic commitment to finally get PFAS out of our drinking water,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “The funding proposed in the bipartisan infrastructure bill will provide an important down payment on what’s need to filter PFAS out of the water sent to our homes, schools and businesses.”

The Food and Drug Administration is again failing to protect consumers from PFAS. On Thursday, the agency sent a public letter to food packaging manufacturers explaining when the companies can use fluorine gas to create plastic containers.

Fluorine gas can produce PFAS when it is applied to plastic containers. The PFAS can then leach into food, posing health risks. But the FDA is declining to ban the use of the chemicals in all food containers and packaging.

“Our food should not contain toxic forever chemicals,” said David Andrews, an EWG senior scientist. “Once again, the FDA has put the needs of the chemical and food companies ahead of the needs of the public.”

A decade ago, researchers raised concerns about these food containers and the potential for human exposure to PFAS.

Researchers studied six PFAS compounds found in the blood of pregnant women during their first trimester, concluding that specific PFAS may be linked to obesity.

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