PFAS (substances for and polyfluoroalkyl) are a large class of thousands of industrial chemicals that many prominent scientists and organisms recognize as toxic. Extreme persistence is the defining characteristic of this class of compounds, but they can also be highly mobile, bioaccumulative, and dangerous.
Many of the most studied PFAS persist in human tissue for years, with a serum half-life ranging from several years to decades. PFAS cross the placenta, are detected in cord serum, and are transmitted to infants and toddlers through contaminated breast milk.
PFAS are associated with serious health impacts even at low levels of exposure. They can affect reproductive health and weight at birth and are related to thyroid disease and asthma.
In collaboration with the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE), we have developed a new infographic that highlights the dangers of PFAS in terms of women’s health. , pregnancy and human development.
It also provides tangible options for physicians to help reduce PFAS exposure, as well as action points for the promotional task of banning PFAS.
The FIGO Committee on Reproductive Environmental and Developmental Health advocates the minimization or elimination of exposures to toxins with the potential to cause harm to human health and, in particular, to human development and reproductive health. We strongly endorse the principle that “When an activity poses threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures must be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully scientifically established.” Persistent (“forever”) chemicals in the environment, such as PFAS, of the latest generations, so prevention is paramount.
– Professor Linda Giudice, President of FIGO of the Reproductive Environmental Health and Development Committee
FIGO statement on PFAS
In 2015, FIGO adopted the reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, a scientific opinion that reflects the need for this approach to better address the threat that toxic environmental chemicals now pose to the environment. reproductive and environmental health of human beings. Subsequently, FIGO established a Global Working Group on Reproductive and Developmental Health (RDEH), which was appointed as the formal committee of FIGO in 2018.
The Committee’s FIGO statement, on the elimination of PFAS worldwide, urges hospitals, daycares, schools and other settings in which FIGO members work to preferentially purchase furniture, upholstery, carpets, clothing and food packaging without PFAS.
In addition, we recommend to governments:
- prioritize legislation to phase out all non-essential uses and the manufacture of PFAS, starting with uses that are likely to result in increased exposure to pregnant women and children
- require transparency in the use of PFAS
- invest in safer alternatives for essential uses and improved control, cleaning and disposal technologies
- mitigate continuous exposure to PFAS by cleaning up contaminated environmental resources and ensuring the storage of highly contaminated PFAS waste until a safe method of destruction has been determined
- require a regulatory assessment of PFAS, including toxicological and exposure assessment, as a class.
Read the full statement here.