Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pollutants In The News

Through my usual sifting of the online news pages, I came across this one article that talks about a study that links PFOA & PFOS to infertility

When I recalled that PFOA is linked to Teflon, which I remember being in the news back in the day, I did a news archive search on GoogleNewsArchive of "PFOS PFOA" to see the history of this compound through the news.

I found, for each of the years ranging from 1997 to 2008, there were 2, 1, 0, 5, 6, 10, 167, 533, 1160, 1420, 347, and 314 article results for those years, respectively. It clearly reached a peak in 2006 but then rapidly dropped off the headlines in 2007. What happened?

The same type of search with "BPA bisphenol" gave me the following results ranging from years 1994 to 2008: 7, 3, 11, 16, 24, 37, 62, 71, 106, 108, 144, 206, 181, 359, 1750. To-date, BPA peaked in the news last year, the year that Canada banned BPA.

In 2008 California placed limits on PFOA in food packaging, with a voluntary phase-out by 2015, suggested by the EPA. Based on my article search, the banning of PFOA floated in the news for quite a few years in the early 2000's but has only recently made much progress in the EPA arena.

It's interesting to see how these compounds have moved through the news and to consider what has been done about either of them. There's a lot more I could say to these two trends, but anyone who's aware of the relationship between government, industry, and the chemicals will be able to fill in the blank....