More Companies Join ChemSec’s PFAS Movement

Oct. 6, 2021
More brands are actively speaking up against the use of PFAS chemicals in products and supply chains.

ChemSec says 50 more companies have joined its PFAS Movement. PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a chemical family consisting of almost 5,000 industrially produced chemicals. Though legal, the chemicals have well-known adverse effects. NGO ChemSec initiated its corporate PFAS Movement a little over a year ago.

“We recognize that citizens and public interest groups are not the only voices needed in the debate about toxic PFAS chemicals – businesses are equally important. And we know for a fact that many companies have a strong dedication to move away from PFAS in products and supply chains,” says Anne-Sofie Bäckar, executive director at ChemSec.

In manufacturing, PFAS are favored for their durability and well-functioning properties. They provide features such as non-stick, water repellency and anti-grease to many types of everyday products, including cosmetics, food packaging, frying pans and clothes, just to name a few. The industrial use of PFAS – sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t degrade in nature – has been so prevalent in the last decades that 99% of humans have measurable levels of PFAS in their bloodstreams, according to ChemSec.

Lately, more reports have been suggesting that PFAS are a serious problem. Human epidemiological studies have found associations between PFAS exposure and a number of health disorders, including kidney cancer, lowered birth weights and effects on the immune system.

In the early days of the movement, most member companies were based in Europe, including H&M and the UK home improvement chain Kingfisher, according to ChemSec. With the inclusion of the three American companies Naturepedic, Seventh Generation and Beautycounter, the movement has reached the United States.

"It is heartening to see the response of businesses, state legislatures, firefighters and organizations such as ChemSec to limit the harm caused by PFAS in consumer products and in the environment,” says Martin Wolf, director, sustainability and authenticity, Seventh Generation. “But PFAS are not alone in presenting a risk of harm to human health and the environment. Hundreds of other substances are known to harm human and environmental health and are known to persist in the environment. We must address these other substances with the same vigor and determination that we have shown with PFAS.”

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