States take on PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ with bans and lawsuits

By Alex Brown | The Washington Post | November 5, 2022

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“Forever chemicals” are everywhere. The thousands of chemicals in the group known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are found in cookware, packaging, cosmetics, clothing, carpet, electronics, firefighting foam and many other products.

The chemicals don’t naturally break down and are so widespread that they’re found in the blood of 97 percent of Americans. Some PFAS compounds may decrease fertility, cause metabolic disorders, damage the immune system and increase the risk of cancer.

As they wait for regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, some states have banned the use of PFAS in certain consumer products. Others have issued stronger water quality standards or empowered state agencies to speed up regulations. Many are pursuing cleanup and remediation efforts, with states suing polluters for compensation ranging from tens of millions to nearly a billion dollars."