Gijs van Seventer Environmental Health Seminar
Policy Formulation Advanced by Science: The Ongoing Case of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals that are celebrated for their grease- and water-repellent properties. Sources of exposure to PFAS include food, drinking water, air, and commercial household products, and their tendency to persist in the environment and in the human body has secured PFASs the alias of “forever chemicals”. The negative health and environmental effects of these chemicals and their presence in nearly all people worldwide have placed PFAS at the center of intense investigation and regulatory concern. Despite ubiquitous exposure, PFAS are not regulated in the United States. However, after mounting scientific and public pressure, manufacturers voluntarily phased out the production of two of theses chemicals, PFOS (2002) and PFOA (2015), but replacements and precursors still comprise a class of least 4,700 PFAS chemicals in commerce – most with no toxicological data. Scientists, communities, non-governmental organizations, industry and policy/decision-makers play key roles in this high stakes situation. This seminar series explores the interactions of these players through: summarizing the state of the science on PFAS; examining communities’ concerns, challenges, and successes in addressing PFAS contamination; and assessing current policies targeting PFAS at federal, state, and local levels. Using PFAS as a timely example, the series illustrates nuances to the relationships between scientists, community members, and regulators who are interested in understanding and preventing hazardous exposures.
Fridays, 12:45 – 1:45 pm
L-311, BU Medical School
Contact: Jean van Seventer
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Environmental Health, BUSPH