The Madrid Statement

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The Madrid statement on Poly-and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) was presented at the 34th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants, held 31 August-5 September 2014 in Madrid, Spain. Since then the Statement has been signed by 206 scientists and professionals from 40 countries.

The scientists call on the international community to cooperate in limiting the production and use of PFASs and in developing safer nonfluorinated alternatives. We therefore urge scientists, governments, chemical and product manufacturers, purchasing organizations, retailers, and consumers to take the following actions:

Scientists:

  1. Assemble, in collaboration with industry and governments, a global inventory of all PFASs in use or in the environment, including precursors and degradation products, and their functionality, properties, and toxicology.
  2. Develop analytical methods for the identification and quantification of additional families of PFASs, including fluorinated alternatives.
  3. Continue monitoring for legacy PFASs in different matrices and for environmental reservoirs of PFASs.
  4. Continue investigating the mechanisms of toxicity and exposure (e.g., sources, fate, transport, and bioaccumulation of PFASs), and improve methods for testing the safety of alternatives.
  5. Bring research results to the attention of policy makers, industry, the media, and the public.

Governments:

  1. Enact legislation to require only essential uses of PFASs, and enforce labeling to indicate uses.
  2. Require manufacturers of PFASs to
    1. conduct more extensive toxicological testing,
    2. make chemical structures public,
    3. provide validated analytical methods for detection of PFASs, and
    4. assume extended producer responsibility and implement safe disposal of products and stockpiles containing PFASs.
  3. Work with industry to develop public registries of products containing PFASs.
  4. Make public annual statistical data on production, imports, and exports of PFASs.
  5. Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs in government procurement.
  6. In collaboration with industry, ensure that an infrastructure is in place to safely transport, dispose of, and destroy PFASs and PFAS-containing products, and enforce these measures.

Chemical manufacturers:

  1. Make data on PFASs publicly available, including chemical structures, properties, and toxicology.
  2. Provide scientists with standard samples of PFASs, including precursors and degradation products, to enable environmental monitoring of PFASs.
  3. Work with scientists and governments to develop safe disposal methods for PFASs.
  4. Provide the supply chain with documentation on PFAS content and safe disposal guidelines.
  5. Develop nonfluorinated alternatives that are neither persistent nor toxic.

Product manufacturers:

  1. Stop using PFASs where they are not essential or when safer alternatives exist.
  2. Develop inexpensive and sensitive PFAS quantification methods for compliance testing.
  3. Label products containing PFASs, including chemical identity and safe disposal guidelines.
  4. Invest in the development and use of nonfluorinated alternatives.

Purchasing organizations, retailers, and individual consumers:

  1. Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof, or nonstick.
  2. Question the use of such fluorinated “performance” chemicals added to consumer products.

On May 1st, 2015 this Statement was published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives  including an editorial and an answer from industry.

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