Representatives Cortvriend and Speakman to host online ‘chemicals forever’ forum


Rep. Terri Cortvriend and Rep. June S. Speakman join Clean Water Action, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island to host a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday on the dangers of PFAS chemicals and what can be done. made to protect against it. .

The event, scheduled for Tuesday, October 12 at 7 p.m., will feature a panel of experts including the acting director of the Department of Environmental Management, Terrence Gray, local scientists and academics. Moderated by Alex Kuffner of Providence Journal, the panel will help define the importance of this issue and discuss what you can do to protect your family. They will also answer questions about toxic chemicals forever.

Panelists include:

  • Dr Rebecca Altman, environmental sociologist and author
  • Terry Gray, Acting Director, RI Environmental Management Department
  • Dr Lauren Richter, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, RI School of Design
  • Dr Angela Slitt, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of RI

Tickets for this free event and more information are available on the event page: Toxic Chemicals Forever in Rhode Island: A Conversation at Town Hall.

Per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) are found in hundreds of consumer products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, cosmetics, waterproof jackets, rugs, stain or wrinkle resistant fabrics, fire fighting foam and much more.

These chemicals have been linked to cancer and can have harmful effects on the immune system and other tissues and organs. They are often referred to as “eternal chemicals” because they are very stable and therefore do not break down in the environment. The result is widespread contamination of water, agriculture and the food chain around the world. In fact, PFAS chemicals were found in 44% of the water systems tested in Rhode Island.

For three years, Representative Speakman and Representative Cortvriend introduced measures to ban PFAS in food packaging manufactured or sold in Rhode Island (2021-H 5356A) and to establish maximum levels of contaminants for permanent chemicals. in public drinking water networks (2021-H 5523). The former was passed by the House this year, and representatives plan to push for passage of both in the 2022 session.

“PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous in consumer products, despite the known dangers and all the questions that remain about their long-term effects or how to get rid of them from our bodies or our environment. We cannot continue to tolerate this health risk, ”said Speakman representative (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol).

According to Representative Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown), “There is also a need for greater public awareness of the dangers of PFAS and all the products that contain them. People need to know that they and their families can be exposed to dangerous chemicals through their cooking utensils, food wrappers, rugs or clothing. There are alternatives, but you have to be aware of the danger to know to avoid it. We hope this event will help raise awareness of these hazardous chemicals and build support for action to reduce their use in Rhode Island. “