Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are man-made chemicals. To date, over 4,000 unique PFASs have been used in technical applications and consumer products, and some of them have been detected globally in human and wildlife biomonitoring studies. Because of their extraordinary persistence, human and environmental exposure to PFASs will be a long-term source of concern.
Some PFASs such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) have been investigated extensively and thus regulated, but for many other PFASs, knowledge about their current uses and hazards is still very limited or missing entirely.
To address this problem and prepare an action plan for the assessment and management of PFASs in the coming years, a group of more than 50 international scientists and regulators held a two-day workshop in Zürich, Switzerland, on 9-10 November, 2017. The result – the Zürich Statement -was published 31 August 2018 in the scientific journal: Environmental Health and Perspectives.
Common goals regarding PFASs between Science and Policy were:
- to expand the chemical scope to especially the short-chain PFASs and polymers;
- to explore new approaches to assess and manage highly persistent chemicals;
- to work toward a phase-out of non-essential uses of PFASs and develop safe alternatives;
- to raise awareness of PFAS-related issues among policy-makers and the general public;
- to initiate further cooperative actions to address PFASs.