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Environment

PFOA moves closer to global restrictions

by Cheryl Hogue
October 3, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 39

Worldwide action is warranted to restrict perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and PFOA-related compounds, a United Nations committee that reviews chemicals concluded in late September. The panel assesses substances for possible inclusion under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Its conclusion paves the way for control of PFOA and its chemical cousins under that treaty. The committee determined that the spread of PFOA and related compounds is “likely to lead to adverse human health and environmental effects.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers PFOA possibly carcinogenic to humans, the committee notes in its newly finalized assessment. Exposure to the substance has also been linked to noncancer health effects in people, it adds. Manufacture of PFOA and its salts has ceased in the European Union and is believed to have stopped in 2015 in Japan and the U.S., according to the assessment. In China, annual production of PFOA and its salts tripled from 30 metric tons in 2004 to about 90 metric tons in 2012, the assessment says.

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