Seattle, WA – Washington state’s leading environmental health watchdog group, Toxic-Free Future, is urging the Department of Ecology to quickly issue its phaseout plan for perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) after a story in yesterday’s Seattle Times revealed the chemicals have contaminated drinking water on Whidbey Island. PFAS chemicals are linked to several health effects, including cancer, and are so persistent they can stay in the human body for up to five years.

The Department of Ecology is developing recommendations for eliminating sources of PFAS chemicals in the state. PFAS chemicals are used in numerous consumer products in our homes, including nonstick coatings in food packaging and stain resistant coatings on clothing and furniture. The chemicals have industrial uses as well, including in firefighting foams, which have been responsible for drinking water contamination in other areas.

The following is the statement of Toxic-Free Future Executive Director Laurie Valeriano:

“The news from Whidbey Island is devastating. The Navy and the state must continue their investigation and do everything in their power to help residents affected by the contamination.

Unfortunately, drinking water isn’t the only source of exposure to these chemicals. All of us are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis from the products we use in our homes and the environment. While some forms of PFAS chemicals have been phased out, new ones have taken their place with little evidence they are safe for our health or environment.

For that reason, Ecology must quickly complete its phaseout plan for the entire class of chemicals. A strong plan must include a complete review of drinking water standards, as well as specific actions for banning sources of these chemicals when safer alternatives exist.”

More information on Ecology’s plan is available at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/RTT/pbt/pfasAdCom.html

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