Research Associate in Chemistry, UC Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Arlene Blum PhD., biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate in Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Blum’s research and policy work has contributed to preventing the use of flame retardants and other harmful chemicals in children’s sleepwear, furniture, electronics, and other products world-wide. Her current “mountain” is to educate decision makers and the public to reduce the use of entire classes of harmful chemicals in everyday products.
Summit Panel Discussion - Managing PFAS Impacts Caused by AFFF Usage
When Do We Need PFASs: The Chemical Class Approach Towards a Healthier Environment
Rather than addressing the tens of thousands of chemicals in production one at a time, the chemical class approach educates decision makers in government and business about chemical classes of concern containing many of the harmful substances in common use.
Blum will share Green Science Policy Institute's scientific research, communication and policy work around highly fluorinated chemicals or PFASs. Several so-called “long-chain” highly fluorinated chemicals were recently phased out due to their potential for health harm. They have been replaced by numerous “short-chain” and other related chemicals that are equally persistent and may also pose health and/or environmental risks. To prevent such "regrettable substitutions", the entire class of highly fluorinated chemicals can be considered together. One useful question, when considering this chemical class, is "Do we really need this function, given the potential for harm?" Blum will discuss recent examples of both business and government following the class concept and considering the many thousands of PFASs together for policy and purchasing. Limiting the use of such classes of chemicals of concern to functions where they are indeed necessary can protect human and ecological heath.