News Brief

PFOA Research Process Derailed

A chemical used to make fluoropolymers, found in building products like solar panels and metal roofing (see


Vol. 15, No. 8), PFOA has been scrutinized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and classified as a “likely carcinogen.” EPA’s effort to determine whether fluoropolymers release PFOA when they degrade, however, took a turn in November 2006. EPA said the research process, which had been conducted jointly by EPA and a group of fluoropolymer manufacturers and with potential for an enforceable agreement, had shifted to independent research. EPA attributed the shift to the number of variables being researched, making the enforcement process unwieldy. According to Kristan Markey, a research analyst at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the breakdown in the process boils down to a key dispute over how PFOA has ended up in blood samples worldwide and in samples from landfill leachate, among other places. Industry and EPA scientists disagree, said Markey, on whether factory releases, already being addressed by the industry, are responsible, as opposed to degradation of consumer items, which would represent a much wider problem.

Published January 2, 2007

Roberts, T. (2007, January 2). PFOA Research Process Derailed. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.