Twenty Two States Begin The Ban On These Dangerous “Forever Chemicals”: As Big Texas Oil Is Caught Dumping 40 Thousand Pounds Into The Air, Soil And Water

forever chemicals

If you haven’t heard the term “forever chemicals”, you may be surprised to find out that they do, in fact, stay around for a very long time. They are in pretty much everything that is plastic or foam, and they are pretty toxic to our health.

“Forever chemicals” is a term that is commonly used to refer to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment and do not break down easily. PFAS have earned this nickname because they have an extremely long half-life, meaning that they remain in the environment and in the human body for a very long time.

PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they have been shown to persist in the environment for decades, if not centuries. Once PFAS enter the environment, they can contaminate soil, water, and air, and they can accumulate in the bodies of animals and humans. Studies have found that PFAS can be detected in the blood of nearly all people in the world.

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The persistence of PFAS in the environment and in the human body has raised concerns about the potential health effects of exposure to these chemicals. Studies have linked PFAS exposure to a range of health problems, including cancer, immune system dysfunction, and developmental issues in infants and children.

Despite scientific concern, PFAS are still used in everything from waterproof camping gear to fast food containers. And according to a new study, they are used even more in Texas.

A new report from a public health watchdog found that more than 40,000 pounds of PFAS has been injected into more than 1,000 wells across Texas — and warned that the chemicals could pose a risk to public health.

Over the last decade in Texas, oil and gas companies have pumped at least 43,000 pounds of the toxic chemical into more than 1,000 fracked oil and gas wells across the state, according to the study.

“What was distinctive about Texas was the staggering volume of PFAS reported in use,” said Dusty Horwitt, another study author. “It’s far and above what we’ve found in other states.”

forever chemicals

The study found that 6.1 billion pounds of chemicals injected into Texas wells were listed as trade secrets, meaning that no one — public health researchers, local environmental regulators or landowners who might be drinking contaminated water — knows what they’re being exposed to.

Using PFAS in fracking presents several pathways to environmental contamination and human exposure, the study’s authors said. Fracking fluids are often injected into wastewater wells or stored in pits, which have a history of leaking and contaminating nearby ground and surface water that people rely on.

PFAS can also go airborne if the substance is pumped into a well and that well is then flared or vented, which is common in Texas. In some parts of Texas, like the Fort Worth region, homes, day cares and businesses are located within a few hundred feet of flaring gas wells.

Potentially, people could absorb PFAS through their lungs, and some small molecules could then pass on to the bloodstream.

forever chemicals

Other states have started to ban the use of PFAS in oil wells altogether, including:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
    Banned PFAS and similar chemicals in paper plates, cups, and bags.
  • Colorado
    Colorado prohibits the used of class B foams with intentionally added PFAS in certain aircraft hangars.
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Maine
    Bans intentionally added PFAS from all products of any kind sold in the state.
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
    Banned PFAS and 1,4 Dioxane—a synthetic chemical solvent found in products like detergents classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen.
  • Pennsylvania
    Drinking water standards passed. Regulations would require municipalities and water providers to regularly monitor water for PFAS, and treat the water if it exceeds the accompanying thresholds.
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Forever Chemicals To Be banned By July 1, 2023

Another California law is set to enter effect in the mid-year. It will ban the sale and distribution of new children’s products containing PFAS, requiring the use of the “least toxic alternative.”

It excludes electronic products and internal components of any products that wouldn’t come into contact with a child’s skin or mouth.

Hawaii will ban the manufacture, distribution, and sale of certain food packaging—wraps, liners, plates, food boats, and pizza boxes—that contain PFAS.

The law also prohibits by the same date class B firefighting foams that contain PFAS. Such foams are used to extinguish gasoline, oil, and jet fuel.

Public water utilities in Rhode Island will have to regularly monitor for six PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA, and PFDA. PFAS in drinking water is also capped at a concentration of 20 ppt.

If PFAS levels exceed that limit, utilities are required under the law to provide potable water to customers through other means necessary until monitoring results show that those levels are lower.

And Vermont will ban intentionally added PFAS from food packaging, residential rugs and carpets, and ski wax.

forever chemicals

In conclusion, the danger of the Forever Chemicals also known as PFAS continues to threaten both human health and the environment.

With the recent revelation that a major oil company in Texas has been dumping 40 thousand pounds of PFAS into the air, soil, and water, it is clear that this issue requires urgent attention.

Thankfully, 22 states in the US have taken action by banning the use of PFAS in certain products and industries, and it looks like Texas may become number 23. While this is an important step in the right direction, it is clear that more needs to be done to address the widespread contamination of PFAS.

It is crucial that both the government and the private sector take responsibility for the safe and responsible use and disposal of PFAS. By working together, we can ensure that these dangerous “forever chemicals” are no longer a threat to public health and the environment.


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