2020-06-17 11:35

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Derek Maylor Discusses Poly-fluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)

As previously reported in Unionsafety, one of the biggest food safety threats comes from pesticides and a whole range of chemicals in our food that we buy from our supermarkets.

Here, Derek Maylor, H&S Branch Co-ordinator for the CWU Greater Mersey Amal Branch and members of the North West BT Unions H&S Co-ord, discusses one group of such chemicals - Poly-Fluorinated Alkyl:

The Coord has raised environmental concerns many times wherever appropriate, on this site, in Government consultations and with the companies where we have members. We support the PFAS campaign, who’s contact details are below.

PFAS are chemicals often used around the world in normal daily goods such as food packaging, where paper is treated to make water resistant, and cleaning products. In the UK there are over 4,700 knowingly used, clothing and carpets are common items. Amazingly only two have been studied in any qualitative studies and they were both banned because they were found to be so toxic and damaging to human health. They also found that they can impact so widely that they impact the brain function of polar bears and the immune systems of otters.

They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” for a reason, after leaking into the environment they contaminate the animal world, and eventually you, contaminating your blood. They take over 1000 years to degrade so it not even just your children or grandchildren that we are affecting, it is generations.

PFAS are all around us as well as in us, in the air, the oceans, the soil we grow our food in and wildlife we watch. How the UK manages environmentally damaging PFAS will change over the coming months with the implications of Brexit revealed and a UK chemicals strategy around the corner, most importantly some sort of trade deal between Johnson and Trump on the horizon.

We can’t clean up widespread PFAS pollution, but we can stop it at source. Supermarkets around the world have started to remove PFAS from food packaging and Fidra are asking the UK to do to the same, join them in making changes that will have a lasting impact for generations to come. 

Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have agreed to prepare a joint proposal to restrict all PFAS in the EU, this will bring significant changes to current EU restrictions. So, there is progress being made by some governments and with enough support pressure ending unnecessary use of PFAS is possible.

Sourced:

See also:

UK Pesticide Standards Could Be Slashed In UK/US Trade Deals Threatening Public Health And The Environment


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