Mar 26, 2024

EPA issues PFAS test order as part of National Testing Strategy

WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued the fourth Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) test order requiring testing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under EPA's National PFAS Testing Strategy, the latest action taken under EPA's PFAS Strategic Roadmap to confront contamination from "forever chemicals" nationwide. 

This action orders the 3M Company and Wacker Chemical Corporation to conduct and submit testing on the physical-chemical properties of 2-(N-Methylperfluoro-1-octanesulfonamido)ethanol (NMeFOSE) (Chemical Abstract Service Reference Number: 24448-09-7), including testing on the health effects following inhalation of this chemical. NMeFOSE has been used widely in products, including clothing and carpet treatments as well as furniture coatings (paint and varnish). NMeFOSE has been found in the air and in biosolids, which are a byproduct of the water treatment processes often used on agricultural fields as fertilizer. Studies have also demonstrated that NMeFOSE can accumulate in indoor dust and air, as well as in outdoor environmental media.

"Communities across the country need information about whether or not PFAS are in our air and water, and any health risks caused by these chemicals," said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. "This year, we're continuing to use test orders to gather data about the health effects of PFAS so that we can take any necessary action to protect people and the environment."

After thoroughly examining existing hazard and exposure data, EPA has concluded that NMeFOSE may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The potential hazards from exposure to this chemical could include damage to the nervous system and immune system, as well as cancer.  The test order will help EPA better understand the potential hazards and potential exposures associated with NMeFOSE. 

The information EPA receives under this order will not only improve the Agency's understanding of human health effects of NMeFOSE, but also potential health effects of more than 100 PFAS that are structurally similar to NMeFOSE and add to the agency's overall understanding of this category of PFAS.

The companies subject to the test order may either conduct the tests as described in the order, or provide EPA with existing information that they believe EPA did not identify in its search, but which satisfies the order requirements.

EPA encourages companies to jointly conduct testing to avoid unnecessary duplication of tests and will also consider possible combinations of tests that cover all required endpoints to diminish the amount of time, animal subjects and costs required.

The order employs a tiered testing process, as TSCA requires. The order is effective today, March 25, 2024. The results of all the first-tier testing are required to be submitted to EPA within one year of the effective date of the order and will inform the decision as to which additional tests are necessary. The order and any data submitted in response to this order will be made publicly available on EPA's website and in the applicable docket on the page, subject to confidentiality considerations under TSCA section 14. 

PFAS National Testing Strategy 

In the National PFAS Testing Strategy, EPA assigned PFAS into smaller categories based on similarities in structure, physical-chemical properties, and existing toxicity data. EPA is issuing test orders for PFAS in specific categories that lack toxicity data to inform EPA's understanding of the potential effects on human health and the environment.

As EPA continues to further develop this strategy, refine its universe and categorization of PFAS, and consider stakeholder feedback, the agency also plans to increase the weight it places on the potential for exposures when identifying specific PFAS that would require testing.

Please read full from EPA:

Mar 5, 2024

Endangered species, the “insect apocalypse” Death by a thousand cuts

Insects comprise much of the animal biomass linking primary producers and consumers, as well as higher-level consumers in freshwater and terrestrial food webs. Situated at the nexus of many trophic links, many numerically abundant insects provide ecosystem services upon which humans depend: the pollination of fruits, vegetables, and nuts; the biological control of weeds, agricultural pests, disease vectors, and other organisms that compete with humans or threaten their quality of life; and the macrodecomposition of leaves and wood and removal of dung and carrion, which contribute to nutrient cycling, soil formation, and water purification. Clearly, severe insect declines can potentially have global ecological and economic consequences.

Please read more from source:

Mar 4, 2024

EPA finalizes stronger safety standards to protect at-risk communities from chemical accidents

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing finalized amendments to the Risk Management Program to further protect at-risk communities from chemical accidents, especially those located near facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates. The "Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Rule" includes EPA's most protective safety provisions for chemical facilities in history, requiring stronger measures for prevention, preparedness, and public transparency. The rule protects the health and safety of all communities by requiring industry to prevent accidental releases of dangerous chemicals that could otherwise cause deaths and injuries, damage property and the environment, or require surrounding communities to evacuate or shelter-in-place.

"Many communities that are vulnerable to chemical accidents are in overburdened and underserved areas of the country," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "This final rule is a critical piece of the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to advancing environmental justice by putting in place stronger safety requirements for industrial facilities and new measures to protect communities from harm."

The final rule includes revisions to improve chemical process safety, to assist in planning, preparing for, and responding to accidents, and to increase public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated sources. The rule requires regulated facilities to perform a safer technologies and alternatives analysis, and in some cases, facilities will be required to implement reliable safeguard measures as practicable. This new requirement is expected to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents.

Read more information on the rule visit EPA's Risk Management Program rule website: 

Mar 1, 2024

A simple way to get microplastics out of your water

New research found that boiling drinking water can remove up to nearly 90 percent of microplastics.
"This study is aimed to stimulate more studies," the scientists wrote in their new paper. But they also noted that boiling water is relatively easy to do and has other health benefits — like killing potentially harmful microbes, parasites and viruses.

If you want to try it, the researchers cautioned you should wait 5 to 10 minutes to let the solids settle — and let the water cool. 
Then you can filter out the solids.

​World’s largest review finds direct associations with higher risks of cancer, heart disease and early death linked to Ultra-processed food

Ultra-processed food (UPF), "often chemically manipulated cheap ingredients" and "made palatable and attractive by using combinations of flavours, colours, emulsifiers, thickeners and other additives", directly linked to 32 health parameters spanning mortality, cancer, and mental, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and metabolic health outcomes."

From the Guardian:
Ultra-processed food (UPF) is directly linked to 32 harmful effects to health, including a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, adverse mental health and early death, according to the world's largest review of its kind.

The findings from the first comprehensive umbrella review of evidence come amid rapidly rising global consumption of UPF such as cereals, protein bars, fizzy drinks, ready meals and fast food.

In the UK and US, more than half the average diet now consists of ultra-processed food. For some, especially people who are younger, poorer or from disadvantaged areas, a diet comprising as much as 80% UPF is typical.
Convincing evidence showed that higher UPF intake was associated with about a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48 to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Highly suggestive evidence also indicated that higher PF intake was associated with a 21% greater risk of death from any cause, a 40 to 66% increased risk of heart disease related death, obesity, type 2 diabetes and sleep problems, and a 22% increased risk of depression.

The findings published in the BMJ suggest diets high in UPF may be harmful to many elements of health. The results of the review involving almost 10 million people underscored a need for measures to target and reduce exposure to UPF, the researchers said.

The review involved experts from a number of leading institutions, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, the University of Sydney and Sorbonne University in France.

Please read full from Andrew Gregory Health editor of The Guardian

Science Source: