Study: PFAS Substitutes May Also Be Toxic

While developing a new analysis methodology, Canadian and U.S. scientists discovered that non-fluorinated surfactants may be just as dangerous as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The findings were published in the April issue of Environmental Science and Technology. The study examined to what extent various PFASs bind to liver fatty-acid binding protein (L-FABP), a key protein used to determine
bioaccumulation, the study of how chemicals build up in an organism.

As expected, numerous PFAS bound themselves to the protein. Surprisingly, however, they also bound themselves to a variety of non-fluorinated compounds, which the team identified as alkyl ether sulfates. Like PFAS, these chemicals are used as surfactants. The scientists found the substances in water samples from Lake Niapenco in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) and other locations. The authors state that they still do not have enough data available to make statements about actual toxicity.

Various PFAS have been prohibited for years. Because more than 4,700 of the substances exist, EU
member states
are now calling for PFAS to be treated and classified as a group. The Netherlands will prepare a proposed REACH restriction this year.

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