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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor - PFAS Policy Requires Careful Consideration - 4-17-2024

Andrianna Moehle


Letter to the Editor - PFAS Policy Requires Careful Consideration - 4-17-2024

Dear Editor:

Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the U.S., employing over 525,000 Hoosiers. How things get made and what goes into products are important issues on many levels. One of these issues that has recently been the subject of high government scrutiny has been the use of a category of chemicals known as “PFAS” (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  

There are more than 12,000 different variants of substances identified as “PFAS” and only a very limited number of those PFAS are the subject of scrutiny as potential causes of cancer and/or environmental harm. Recently announced water quality regulations from the EPA and the Indiana Attorney General’s recent lawsuit on some PFAS manufactures call out about a dozen specific PFAS variants and their associated products in its rules and allegations. One of these PFAS is used in fire-fighting foam.  Legal action, regulation and legislation that specifically target these types of PFAS are, in many cases, necessary to protect public health.  

But it is important to differentiate between the small number of PFAS that have been linked to health concerns and the thousands of other chemicals that we use every day. These are also considered PFAS, but scientifically should not be treated the same. In the recent legislative session, the IMA supported a bill (HB 1399) which would have established a clear definition of what constitutes a PFAS for regulatory purposes in Indiana. Each of the specific PFAS variants mentioned in the AG’s lawsuit were included in the definition of PFAS proposed by HB 1399 and could be subject to further regulation. 

However, PFAS used for industrial purposes, and those excluded from the definition in HB 1399, are inherently more stable and can be used without fear of leeching into water systems or harming human health. These stable PFAS are commonly found in medical devices such as MRI and CT machines and deliver injectable medicines. The automotive industry uses PFAS as lubricants and casing in the manufacturing and assembly of vehicles. PFAS is used as a casing for lithium-ion batteries, which aren’t only found in EV’s, but in phones, laptops and many other electronic devices we use daily. There are no commercially viable alternatives for these uses. 

The IMA continues to support a definition of PFAS that treats the few potentially dangerous chemicals different from those which are not. This ensures that a robust, stable domestic supply chain for thousands of products using safe PFAS will remain intact. 

For a photo of Andrianna Moehle, click here.

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