By B.N. Frank
Opposition to the creation, use, and disposal of “forever chemicals” aka PFAS is increasing worldwide. Nevertheless, in November 2022, 100+ scientists accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of ignoring human health risks from exposure.
In the U.S., dangerously high levels of PFAS have been found in several U.S. locations as well as in school uniforms and freshwater fish. Legislation to address this has already passed in two states and numerous other states are considering bills too. Of course, this isn’t a popular trend with everyone.
From Ars Technica:
Chipmakers fight spread of US crackdowns on “forever chemicals”
Intel helped form lobbying group that has opposed state legislation on PFAS.
Patrick Temple-West, Financial Times
Intel and other semiconductor companies have joined together with industrial materials businesses to fight US clampdowns on “forever chemicals,” substances used in myriad products that are slow to break down in the environment.
The lobbying push from chipmakers broadens the opposition to new rules and bans for the chemicals known as PFAS. The substances have been found in the blood of 97 percent of Americans, according to the US government.
More than 30 US states this year are considering legislation to address PFAS, according to Safer States, an environmental advocacy group. Bills in California and Maine passed in 2022 and 2021, respectively.
“I think clean drinking water and for farmers to be able to irrigate their fields is far more important than a microchip,” said Stacy Brenner, a Maine state senator who backed the state’s bipartisan legislation.
In Minnesota, bills would ban by 2025 certain products that contain added PFAS—which is short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances—in legislation considered to be some of the toughest in the country.
The Semiconductor Industry Association—whose members include Intel, IBM, and Nvidia—has cosigned letters opposing the Minnesota legislation, arguing its measures are overly broad and could prohibit thousands of products, including electronics. Chipmakers also opposed the California and Maine laws.
The pushback in the US echoes a dispute in Europe, where chipmakers have warned that a proposed ban on PFAS will disrupt semiconductor supplies.
Long-term PFAS exposure can weaken the immune system, decrease infant and fetal growth, and increase kidney cancer risk in adults, according to a 2022 report by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Activist Post reports regularly about PFAS and other toxins. For more information, visit our archives.
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