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Environmental group raises concern about increased production of PFAs chemicals

Kamil Kaczor

Despite growing health concerns, the production of a family of fire retardant chemicals is increasing, according to an environmental group.

Perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAs, are a family of chemical that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer.

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, production of the chemicals has been steadily increasing despite growing concerns.

The group posted EPA data showing the number of sites where large quantities of PFAs chemicals are being produced or imported increased between 2012 and 2016.

See the PEER graph here.

Kyla Bennett is with PEER. She said while two of the main PFAs chemicals have been phased out, manufacturers have simply replaced those with new unregulated versions of the chemicals.

“We’ve got a huge upswing in the number of these new PFAs chemicals that are being manufactured and used in this country with virtually no testing data on them.”

Bennett said in her personal opinion the chemicals should only ever be used in firefighting foams used to save lives.

“But it should not be in your Big Mac wrapper, it should not be in your microwave popcorn bag, it should not be on our frying pans or on our clothes or our couches or on our carpets. There should be a moratorium on it.”

Bennett said the EPA should ban all members of the PFAs family until they can be tested and confirmed safe.

Officials with the EPA did not immediately respond to our request for comment.