PFOA be gone

Producers of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) also known as C8, are peeling themselves away from the chemical thanks to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s PFOA Stewardship program.

PFOA is used as a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers – chemicals that provide non-stick surfaces on cookware and water-proof clothing. Low levels of PFOA has reportedly been persistently found in the environment and in the blood of Americans although the EPA assured that PFOA are not found in any of the above products mentioned.

The sources of PFOA in the environment and the pathways by which people are exposed are not yet known. The agency suspected that PFOA is being spread through manufacturing emissions or it is being gradually released from products through wear-and-tear and aging.

The EPA said major producers will be able to meet the industry’s 95% PFOA emission reduction target worldwide by 2010. Arkema, Asahi, Ciba, Clariant, Daikin, DuPont, 3M/Dyneon and Solvay Solexis all intend to eliminate emissions and PFOA content in products by 2015.

Companies have also submitted to EPA more than 50 chemical alternatives to date for review.

This shows that when a chemical is scientifically considered harmful, producers will really do what it can to voluntarily eliminate the chemical and find an alternative. But maybe next time they shouldn’t have to wait for the EPA’s friendly push to make them move.

[Photo courtesy of Environment Blog]

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