EPA Releases Human Health Toxicity Assessments for GenX “Forever Chemicals”

EPA Releases Human Health Toxicity Assessments for GenX “Forever Chemicals”

‘Forever Chemicals’, such as the PFAs Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Per-fluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), have been known to remain in the human body and environment for many years after exposure/contamination. A set of newer chemicals, known as GenX chemicals, aimed to replace these toxic substances, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now says they pose just as great a risk, if not a greater risk, to humans and the environment as their predecessors. 

In determining how dangerous these chemicals are, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set new toxicity guidelines for GenX chemicals. Hexafluoropropylene Oxide (HFPO) Dimer Acid and its Ammonium Salt are known as GenX chemicals because they are the two major chemicals associated with GenX processing aid technology, the scientific process of using substances or additives in the production of high-performance fluoropolymers, a family of plastic resins, without the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). 

GenX chemicals have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions, and in animal studies exposure has shown to lead to adverse health effects on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, disruption in the development of offspring, and an association with cancer. 

The EPAs Human Health Toxicity Assessment for GenX Chemicals could lead to changes in the monitoring of drinking water quality across the country, but that does not undo the damage which has already taken place. The Chemours Company, a spin-off company of DuPont, has been responsible for GenX contamination of water in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio

Caldwell, Leigh Ann, and Frank Thorp V. “Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Everywhere. the EPA Has a New Plan to Crack down.NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 18 Oct. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/can-epa-get-rid-toxic-forever-chemicals-n1281707.

Fact Sheet: Human Health Toxicity Assessment for GenX Chemicals.” Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2021-10/genx-final-tox-assessment-general_factsheet-2021.pdf.

Hogue, Cherly. “GenX-Related Fluoroether Taints Water in Wells near West Virginia Chemours Plant.” Cen.acs.org, 24 Apr. 2018, https://cen.acs.org/environment/pollution/GenX-related-fluoroether-taints-water/96/web/2018/04.

Hogue, Cheryl. “US EPA Deems Two GenX PFAS Chemicals More Toxic than PFOA.” Cen.acs.org, c&En, 25 Oct. 2021, https://cen.acs.org/environment/persistent-pollutants/US-EPA-deems-two-GenX-PFAS-chemicals-more-toxic-than-PFOA/99/web/2021/10.

Hogue, Cheryl. “What’s GenX Still Doing in the Water Downstream of a Chemours Plant?Cen.acs.org, c&En, 12 Feb. 2018, https://cen.acs.org/articles/96/i7/whats-genx-still-doing-in-the-water-downstream-of-a-chemours-plant.html.

Human Health Toxicity Assessment: GenX Chemicals.EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/human-health-toxicity-assessments-genx-chemicals.

Rodriguez, Juan Carlos. “EPA Sets Toxicity Guideline for Newer ‘Forever Chemicals’.” Law360, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.law360.com/construction/articles/1434246/epa-sets-toxicity-guideline-for-newer-forever-chemicals-.

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