Bristol EHP Rebecca Hall has been spurred into taking personal action after discovering the danger to health and the environment posed by PFAS chemicals.
PFOA, a particular type of PFAS or ‘forever chemicals’, was the subject of the film Dark Waters. Rob Bilott, the tenacious lawyer depicted in the film, battled DuPont in court for 20 years for poisoning 70,000 people in West Virginia.
PFAS chemicals are comprised of chains of carbon and fluorine bonds, making them strong and stable and very attractive to manufacturers who need waterproofing, greaseproofing and stain-proofing qualities.
Yet they last thousands of years, travel all around the globe, and have been implicated in numerous medical issues in humans, including learning and behavioural problems, cancer, immune system disorders, infertility and obesity. They also bioaccumulate up the food chain to toxic levels in species such as polar bears.
Like many EHPs, Hall takes a keen interest in environmental issues and when she became pregnant with her first child, Lara, she resolved to take action.
“The thought of Lara living in the world with all these chemicals that made everybody ill was frightening,” said Hall.
“We as EHOs are here to help protect the public through education and enforcement. It is therefore our job to take action. PFAS are in many day-to-day products that we use, cooking with them, wearing them, storing our food in them and consuming them through food packaging.”
She added: “The FSA should be taking further action to ensure what we are consuming is safe. Why are we allowing consumers to consume forever chemicals when we know there are dangers? Denmark has already banned them. We must push for better regulation to protect ourselves and our planet.
“There are so many suffering with health problems and it’s unknown how many are being caused or worsened by forever chemicals. If we take action, it could save and improve many lives, both human and animal.”
Hall contacted Scottish environmental charity Fidra to find out more and get involved in their campaigns and has tried to remove PFAS from her family’s lives.
EHP Rebecca Hall and daughter Lara
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