EPA Allowed Companies to Make 40 New PFAS Chemicals Despite Big Risks

EPA allowed 40 new chemicals in the toxic PFAS family to be manufacured and used despite scientific evidence suggesting they had seriously harmful health effects.

"The chemical caused lab rats to lose weight. When pregnant rats were exposed to it, their pups lost weight, too, and their pups’ skulls, ribs, and pelvises tended to develop abnormally. The compound, referred to by the number “647-42-7” in Environmental Protection Agency records, also caused discoloration of the teeth, increased liver weights, decreased how much their infants nursed, and lowered the animals’ red blood cell counts. One report showed that the clear, colorless liquid caused “increased pup mortality” and, in adult rats, elevated death rates.

Female rats exposed to 647-42-7 “did not appear normal,” as another one of the reports explained, going on to detail their symptoms, which included “dental effects; mild dehydration; urine-stained abdominal fur; coldness to the touch; ungroomed coat; decreased motor activity; ataxia [uncoordinated movements]; periorbital [eye area] swelling; brown fur on the lower midline; hunched posture; and slight excess salivation.” At one dose, the chemical caused ridges to form on one of the inner layers of the rats’ incisor teeth, according to one of five reports DuPont sent to the EPA. Six other reports about the chemical submitted to the agency between 2007 and 2013 did not include the name of the manufacturer.

Despite the alarming findings of these animal experiments, between 4 and 40 million pounds of this PFAS compound were produced nationally in four locations in 2015, according to the most recent information available from the EPA. And 647-42-7, described in chemical companies’ filings with EPA as a “reactant,” is just one of 40 chemicals in the class of industrial compounds known as PFAS that are in active use despite the fact that their manufacturers alerted the EPA to substantial threats the chemicals pose to health and the environment. The chemicals were designated “active” on the EPA’s inventory, meaning that they were made or used in the U.S. by at least one company between 2006 and 2016."

Sharon Lerner reports for The Intercept September 19, 2019.

Source: The Intercept, 09/20/2019