Jun 1, 2018
PFAS (Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in the States
PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have raised health concerns as the ubiquitous chemicals accumulate in the environment and bodies over time. However, not all the thousands of PFAS demonstrate the same properties or risks. Blanket PFAS prohibition overlooks scientific differentiations essential to thoughtful regulation. Categorization and safety assessments for specific PFAS relies on specialized toxicological perspectives to weigh complex tradeoffs. The EPA and FDA provide centralized expertise analyzing isomer functions, setting guidance dose levels, and evaluating necessity in products from cookware to implanted medical devices to balance patient needs with tight usage controls on the most concerning compounds.
State and local bans on broad PFAS applications, without accounting for nuanced federal scrutiny linking unique molecular risks to tailored restrictions of only unavoidably persistent or biomagnifying variants, stand to create unnecessary barriers to innovative products with manageable modern PFAS alternatives rigorously designed for safe functionality. Jurisdictional confusion from disjointed legislation also risks disrupting supply chains. Thus, standardized federal PFAS oversight should steer wise, uniform policy in the public’s best interest.
Though rising PFAS levels prompt important health questions that must be monitored, restrictions should remain grounded in conclusive toxicology to avoid reactionary bans on safe modern alternatives — as inconsistent standards across 50 individual states would only stifle healthcare advancement. Science-based federal agencies offer the uniform guidance necessary to regulate complex PFAS wisely by targeting only unavoidable usage of the most high-risk variants rather than enforcing sweeping precautionary prohibitions not supported by data.