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Review

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Significance and Considerations within the Regulatory Framework of the USA

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Karthikraj Rajendiran, Tao Zhang, Un-Jung Kim and Maria Pilar Martinez-Moral
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111142
Received: 10 September 2021 / Revised: 13 October 2021 / Accepted: 20 October 2021 / Published: 23 October 2021
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are an emerging environmental crisis. Deemed forever chemicals, many congeners bioaccumulate and are incredibly persistent in the environment due to the presence of the strong carbon-fluorine covalent bonds. Notable PFAS compounds include perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and GenX. Robust toxicological knowledge exists for these substances, but regulatory decisions based on this knowledge has fallen behind. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has addressed this issue with the PFAS Action Plan and EPA Council on PFAS, but the regulatory framework is severely lacking. Currently, no federal regulations or standards exist. Many occupational and non-occupational human cohorts exist that can lend knowledge on the environmental implications of PFAS and associated health effects. Occupationally, firefighters face significant exposure risks due to use of PFAS containing aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) and personal protective equipment contamination. Non-occupationally, wastewater discharge in North Carolina led to chronic and widespread residential exposure to GenX via drinking water contamination. This public health review seeks to convey the current and future significance of PFAS as an environmental contaminate, to lend considerations on regulatory frameworks within the USA, and to help guide and promote the need for future epidemiological studies in order to tackle this environmental emergency. While the PFAS Action Plan creates a scientific and regulatory foundation, it is important to take these lessons and apply them to future environmental health issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: perfluoroalkyl; polyfluoroalkyl; PFAS; perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS); perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA); GenX; AFFFs; Chemours perfluoroalkyl; polyfluoroalkyl; PFAS; perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS); perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA); GenX; AFFFs; Chemours
MDPI and ACS Style

Langenbach, B.; Wilson, M. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Significance and Considerations within the Regulatory Framework of the USA. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11142. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111142

AMA Style

Langenbach B, Wilson M. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Significance and Considerations within the Regulatory Framework of the USA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(21):11142. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111142

Chicago/Turabian Style

Langenbach, Blake, and Mark Wilson. 2021. "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Significance and Considerations within the Regulatory Framework of the USA" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 21: 11142. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111142

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