Simona Andreea Bălan, Vivek Chander Mathrani, Dennis Fengmao Guo, and André Maurice Algazi (2021). “Regulating PFAS as a Chemical Class under the California Safer Consumer Products Program.” Environmental Health Perspectives 129:2 CID: 025001 https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7431
Background: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. The widespread use, large number, and diverse chemical structures of PFAS pose challenges to any sufficiently protective regulation, emissions reduction, and remediation at contaminated sites. Regulating only a subset of PFAS has led to their replacement with other members of the class with similar hazards, that is, regrettable substitutions. Regulations that focus solely on perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are ineffective, given that nearly all other PFAS can generate PFAAs in the environment.
Objectives: In this commentary, we present the rationale adopted by the State of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for regulating PFAS as a class in certain consumer products.
Discussion: We at the California DTSC propose regulating certain consumer products if they contain any member of the class of PFAS because: a) all PFAS, or their degradation, reaction, or metabolism products, display at least one common hazard trait according to the California Code of Regulations, namely environmental persistence; and b) certain key PFAS that are the degradation, reaction or metabolism products, or impurities of nearly all other PFAS display additional hazard traits, including toxicity; are widespread in the environment, humans, and biota; and will continue to cause adverse impacts for as long as any PFAS continue to be used. Regulating PFAS as a class is thus logical, necessary, and forward-thinking. This technical position may be helpful to other regulatory agencies in comprehensively addressing this large class of chemicals with common hazard traits.
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Across the country, disproportionate exposure to pollution threatens the health of people of color, from Gulf Coast towns in the shadow of petrochemical plants to Indigenous communities in the West that are surrounded by oil and gas operations. Generations of systemic racism routinely put factories, refineries, landfills and factory farms in Black, brown and poor communities, exposing their residents to far greater health risks from pollution than those in whiter, more affluent places.
The federal government has known of environmental injustice for decades. Presidents have promised to address it. But a legacy of weak laws and spotty enforcement has left Black, brown and poor communities mired in pollution and health hazards.
Read the full story at Treehugger.
These ephemeral, woven paper artworks are inspired by a convergence of traditional handicrafts and the urgency of current affairs.
Read the full story in The Columbian.
Somewhere in Kent, tucked anonymously into acres of warehouses and light-industrial workshops, the first full-service human-composting funeral home in the United States is operational.
After nearly a decade of planning, research and fundraising — not to mention a successful campaign to change state law — Recompose is finally converting people into soil.
Read the full story at Smithsonian Magazine.
Geologists in California and Wyoming use unique palettes to teach science.
Read the full story at Fast Company.
Sometimes it seems like cities were designed to kill birds. Take for instance the single night in October when more than 1,000 birds were killed when they collided with buildings in the city of Philadelphia. Due to a combination of confusing reflections from building windows, disorienting light pollution, and the location of tall buildings in the direct flight paths and habitats of many birds, deadly collisions—sometimes in mass numbers—are depressingly common. Researchers estimate that collisions with buildings cause up to one billion bird deaths in the United States every year.
It doesn’t have to be this way, according to a new book, The Bird-Friendly City: Creating Safe Urban Habitats, by Timothy Beatley. Citing new policies, building materials, and DIY designs, Beatley shows how urban environments can be tweaked to allow birds to live and thrive in human-centric spaces.
Read the full story at Circle of Blue.
The Great Lakes region is frequently touted as one of the most climate-resilient places in the U.S., in no small part because of its enviable water resources. But climate change also threatens water quality, availability, and aging water infrastructure by exposing existing vulnerabilities and creating new ones. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative explore what it may take to prepare the Great Lakes region for the future climatologists say we can expect.
Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.
Salt-speckled sidewalks, driveways and highways are synonymous with winter in the Great Lakes region. But while road salt is highly effective at deicing surfaces, the safety that salt provides for humans places a heavy burden on freshwater ecosystems.
Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive.
Unilever has cut costs by $1.5 billion through sustainable sourcing since 2008, according to the company’s February earnings call presentation. Unilever executives said they see a pattern — up front sustainability investments very often result in long-term discounts, CEO Alan Jope said.
Unilever’s goals for using renewable electricity in its operations were achieved a year early, and the savings from the resulting procurement contracts for “green electricity” have been “tremendous,” Jope said. Increased crop yields from sustainable agriculture practices are producing similar cost advantages.
The company expects the cost of recycled plastics to eventually drop below the price of virgin plastics, as recycling systems are implemented across the globe. Jope said Unilever’s transition to recycled plastics will result in cost benefits over time, putting current premiums for recycled plastic between 1% and 10%.
Read the full story in Food & Wine.
A Colorado woman is revamping used gondolas to help restaurants stay afloat with outdoor dining.