A newly proposed rule by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks to ensure that certain perfluorinated chemicals do not re-enter the marketplace without review (http://1.usa.gov/1yE657R). Perfluorinated chemicals—which are used in various industrial applications as well as in goods such as cleaners, carpet, leather, paper, and paints—are useful to manufacturers because they impart properties including fire resistance, and oil, stain, and water repellency. Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals persist in the environment and are toxic to animals, producing reproductive, developmental, and systemic effects. These compounds have been detected at low levels in human blood across the world. Although the effects of these compounds on human health are unknown, they bioaccumulate in humans such that even low exposure could result in high body burden.
Hampton T. Proposed Rule Seeks to Safeguard Against Phased-Out Chemicals. JAMA. 2015;313(8):785. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.0746