Per- and poly- fluoroalklyl substances (PFAS) have become an increasing public health concern. This multi-billion dollar family of chemicals — that has been widely used in firefighting foams, and to make water-, grease-and stain-repellent coatings in many, many consumer goods — is notoriously persistent in the environment and the human body. Several of these compounds have been linked to serious health effects, including cancer. Health experts and environmental groups are now pushing for more stringent regulations on the use and clean up of these chemicals, that have contaminated drinking water supplies across the US.
So just how harmful are PFAS? What can we do to avoid them? And what efforts are underway to reform the inadequate laws regulating chemical use in this country? To find out, Terra Verde host and Earth Island Journal editor Maureen Nandini Mitra talks with three guests — Dr Tisha Stoiber, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group; Pat Elder, an environmental and anti-war activist who has been researching PFAS contamination from military sites; and Lisa McCrae, an environmental and human rights activist, who, along with her family have suffered, first-hand the impact of PFAS contamination while they were stationed at the now defunct George Air Base in Victorville, California.