Going Out of Fashion: U.S. Apparel Manufacturers Must Eliminate PFAS “Forever Chemicals” From Their Supply Chains
Source: NRDC
Authors: Sujatha Bergen and Yiliqi

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, are a large family of an estimated 9,000 human-made chemicals that have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, liver and kidney damage, developmental and reproductive harm, and damage to the immune system. In addition to being widely used in kitchen goods and cosmetics, PFAS are applied to clothes, shoes, and accessories like purses and backpacks to make them more water and stain resistant while keeping the fabric breathable. This convenience, however, comes at a cost. PFAS use in apparel can expose us directly to the chemicals through skin contact and accidental ingestion, as well as indirectly through the contamination of our environment.

As a major user of PFAS, the apparel industry can play a key role in eliminating new PFAS pollution by ceasing its use. To see where the industry is, NRDC, Fashion FWD, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund released a scorecard that graded the PFAS-related policies and commitments of 30 top U.S.-based apparel brands and retailers, including brands in the footwear, indoor apparel, and outdoor apparel sectors. Unfortunately, our survey found that the majority of apparel brands and retailers have weak PFAS-related policies—or none at all. This is especially surprising in the outdoor apparel industry, whose customers often value sustainable, non-polluting manufacturing.

See also:

NAMs: Supporting innovation for rigorous management of chemicals and a healthier environment
Author: Jeanne Laperrouze

Many NGOs and industries have taken a dim view of the European Commission’s public consultation on the upcoming revision of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH ). Containing several biased questions implying that New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) – a wide range of sophisticated solutions replacing and reducing traditional animal testing, including computer-based modeling technologies, in vitro techniques, or alternative model species - will weaken health and environment protection from chemical hazards, and hamper the competitiveness of the EU industry.

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EPA moves to ban the most common type of cancer-causing asbestos
Author: Anna Phillips

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed to ban chrysotile asbestos, the most common form of the toxic mineral still used in the United States.

Also known as “white asbestos,” it has remained on the market despite decades of research showing that it is a deadly carcinogen, linked to about 40,000 U.S. deaths each year. Chlorine manufacturers and companies that make vehicle braking systems and sheet gaskets still import chrysotile asbestos and use it to manufacture new products.

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Formaldehyde causes leukemia and other cancers, draft EPA review concludes
Author: Britt E. Erickson

Formaldehyde is carcinogenic to humans, a draft risk assessment released April 14 by the US Environmental Protection Agency concludes. The review, conducted by the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, cites evidence that inhalation of formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer, sinonasal cancer, and myeloid leukemia in humans.

Formaldehyde is used in making plywood, composite wood items, adhesives, and many other products. Consumers can be exposed to the chemical in tobacco smoke, construction materials, furniture, carpets, and other household products, the assessment says.
n 1938, a 27-year-old chemist named Roy Plunkett stumbled across a new type of chemical, one with a bond so strong it would end up sticking around long after he died—in fact, almost forever.

Plastic pollution could make much of humanity infertile, experts fear
Source: Salon
Author: Matthew Rozsa

Since the start of the 2020s, humanity has faced worldwide calamity after worldwide calamity, all of them raising questions about our survival as a species. The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed millions of lives and not yet finished its rampage. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has raised the specter of nuclear holocaust, which many assumed had subsided with the end of the Cold War. Even as these problems worsen, climate change continues to quietly creep along in the backgroundoverheating the planet for future generations.

Yet what if, on top of all these things, there is an even more dystopian crisis in the offing — one in which humans are no longer able to reproduce without artificial help because we have filled the environment with chemicals that have altered our bodies?

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Product bans among panel’s recommendations to rein in PFAS chemicals
Source: WBUR
Author: Colin A. Young

After almost a year of studying how "forever chemicals" touch nearly all aspects of life in Massachusetts, the PFAS Interagency Task Force released its final report Wednesday with recommendations that the state regulate PFAS chemicals as a class, restrict the sale of consumer products with intentionally-added PFAS and work to raise public awareness of the ubiquity of the problem.

EPA Releases National PFAS Datasets Data Collection Tool
Source: JD Supra

Recently, EPA published a compilation of National PFAS Datasets that include a substantial amount of data regarding sources of PFAS across the country...

Most of the material contained in the National PFAS Datasets was otherwise publicly available from various different repositories. But EPA’s new tool compiles this wide array of data in one place, with a commitment to continually update the Datasets to provide interested users with “a more complete picture of PFAS occurrence.”

Zume and Solenis Launch Line Of PFAS-Free Food Packaging
Source: Forbes
Author: Jeff Kart

A group of chemicals known as PFAS does a fine job when food needs to be packaged, resisting grease and water. But the so-called “forever chemicals” don’t break down in the environment and can leach from containers and move through soils, contaminating drinking water sources. Not very appetizing.

Manufacturers are phasing out the use of PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Still, high levels of PFAS were recently found by Consumer Reports in food packaging from major fast-food restaurants and grocery chains.

So the timing is good for two U.S. companies, Zume and Solenis, who say they’re “doubling down” on an existing collaboration to speed the adoption of sustainable packaging in the global food industry. They’re introducing a comprehensive line of 100% PFAS-free molded fiber packaging, including cups, bowls, egg cartons and protein trays.

Hunting toxic chemicals in the Arctic
Source: Phys.org
Author: Nancy Bazilchuk

At first, it was a simple question: what exactly did oil pollution do to gray seals off the coast of Norway?

It was the early 1980s, and a young Norwegian ecotoxocologist, Bjørn Munroe Jenssen, was asked by Conoco Philips to find the answer.

Jenssen and his colleagues knew that oil spills could contaminate seal fur, especially the pups...

But Jenssen and his colleagues wondered if there were other contaminants getting into the bodies of the animals. So they did some blood tests. And what they found shocked them.

NEW: EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
Source: EWG

... the Environmental Working Group announced that strawberries, spinach and leafy greens are again the top offenders on its 2022 Dirty Dozen™ – a list of the most pesticide-contaminated fresh fruits and vegetables, based on the latest tests by the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.

Pesticide residues were found on over 70 percent of the non-organic produce tested by the USDA and FDA, continuing a problem highlighted in last year’s report.

This is the bulletin of the TURI Library at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Greenlist Bulletin provides previews of recent publications and websites relevant to reducing the use of toxic chemicals by industries, businesses, communities, individuals and government. You are welcome to send a message to info@turi.org if you would like more information on any of the articles listed here, or if this email is not displaying properly.

TURI is continually developing new materials related to cleaning and disinfecting to help small businesses and manufacturers reopen amid the coronavirus. Please check www.turi.org regularly for updates.
March 2022