A group of more than thirty academic and government scientists, together with regulators from agencies across the globe, have jointly outlined a set of needs, goals, and actions to help assess and manage per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in a communication dubbed the Zürich Statement.
PFASs are highly fluorinated compounds, which are used in numerous consumer products from kitchenware to outdoor equipment, or furniture due to their water-, stain-, or oil-repellent properties. More than 3000 PFASs are estimated to currently be or have been on the market, and many new compounds are likely being developed every year. Adverse health effects linked to exposure to certain PFASs such as PFOA and PFOS include changes in liver function, skewed hormone levels, reduced birth weight, and increased pregnancy loss, among others.
The new statement adds to the scientific consensus about the adverse health effects of these substances and stresses that working toward a phase out of nonessential uses of PFASs and developing safe alternatives should be a common goal between science and policy.
This confirms HEAL’ standpoint that regulation is going too slowly and is not ambitious enough to protect health, as pointed out by HEAL’s report on the need for a European strategy for a non-toxic environment, published in summer 2018.
The Zürich Statement is currently open for signatories.