PFAS 101: what are they, why is it important | Five for the weekend
Good weekend to all.
By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the headlines on PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (just rolls over the tongue, right?).
Note: You can also hear Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the reports on these chemicals. These are all types of PFAS.
These artificial chemicals are used for a variety of purposes including making waterproof cosmetics, stain resistant fabrics, and non-stick kitchen utensil rugs. To sum up, they are abundant in our daily life.
But due to their durability by design, these chemicals don’t crack, say, in water, soil and air, making it a dangerous pollutant when it ends up in our drinking water supply or in the belly of that delicious fish we just caught.
According to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), PFAS are labeled “Emerging contaminant” because their effects on humans, animals and the environment are not fully understood.
Although their impacts are not fully understood, advice of state health ministry says humans ingest PFAS chemicals through food and drink as well as through our lungs and skin.
The ubiquitous chemicals have even been found in breast milk.
State-wide sampling of public water systems began in June 2019, after a decree taken by Governor Tom Wolf a year earlier established the PFAS Action Team in an attempt to control PFAS contaminants.
The results of the sampling, published last month, “Did not indicate generalized contamination by PFAS”, according to the DEP.
However, southeastern Pennsylvania has recorded reports of chemical contaminants.
The Capital-Star reported last month that a U.S. panel approved legislation to clean up PFAS chemicals nationwide.
There is currently no federal government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that restrict or prohibit the release of PFAS chemicals by companies and manufacturers. A US House vote is expected on the new EPA standards next week.
Hopefully this PFAS blurb was a useful first step in understanding the issue around these chemicals. The Capital-Star will continue to report on the subject of PFAS contaminants in Pennsylvania.
As always, the 5 best stories of the week are below.
1. With the audit, Senator Pa. Mastriano masks his own role in fomenting electoral chaos | Notice
Sometimes the guy who calls the fire department is the one who started the fire.
This is certainly the case for Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, who has recently transformed into a fervent and proud advocate of electoral integrity.
The problem for Masstriano, R-Franklin, is that he voted for the law 77, the notorious law of 2019 that caused most of the dysfunction of the 2020 Pennsylvania election and tipped the scales against President Donald Trump in the Commonwealth.
True, most Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly supported the bill. But only Mastriano made the 2020 election fiasco the full justification for his pursuit of a higher post. Now widely expected to run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022, Mastriano has been at the forefront, shouting about the events of the past year, which he himself helped spark.
Republicans rightly believed that the long-standing practice of single-ticket voting put their candidates in the reduced ballot at a disadvantage because Democrats held an advantage over voter registration in Pennsylvania.
2. What you need to know about the GOP-backed Pennsylvania election audit
The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate took steps to review the 2020 election last week, requesting thousands of documents from three counties in the state.
State Senator Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, an ally of former President Donald Trump, announced the review on Wednesday during a tour of conservative radio shows.
He said it was a way to restore confidence in the election after the 2020 election – an election Trump and Mastriano have tried for months to delegitimize with baseless fraud allegations.
“The arguments in favor of a forensic investigation into the 2020 general election are obvious to any impartial observer,” Mastriano said.
For the sake of clarity, here’s everything you need to know about what Masstriano has to offer:
3. Pennsylvania State System Unanimously Consolidates Six Schools into Regional Campuses
the Pennsylvania State Higher Education System‘s Board of Governors approved the most transformative restructuring in the system’s 38-year history, voting on Wednesday consolidate six public universities in two regional campuses.
The unanimous vote, which came after weeks of heated public debate, will transform Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities in the northeast and California, and Clarion and Edinboro in the west, into unique institutions.
The decision ends a multi-year advocacy effort to combat declining enrollment and rising tuition fees; however, “this is a journey that will take us more years to complete,” said Board Chair Cindy Shapira.
According to the approved plan, each of the six campuses will remain open and offer a residential experience, but they will operate under different names.
“With this, we will create two regional power plants,” said State System Chancellor Daniel Greenstein, who said he would recommend dissolution the system if the consolidation plan was rejected earlier this year, said.
4. State funding for public broadcasting in Pennsylvania cut in new budget
Among the few losers in the latest Pennsylvania state budget, passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last month, are Pennsylvania’s public broadcasters.
The over $ 40 billion budget injected more taxpayer dollars into education and violence prevention while saving billions of dollars for the future.
But even with a multibillion-dollar surplus, seven public television and radio stations – such as WHYY in Philadelphia, WQED in Pittsburgh, and WITF in Harrisburg had their funding cut.
They had received $ 2.75 million in state taxpayer support since 2016, but that amount has been reduced to zero this year.
It is difficult to say why the cuts were made and who made them. Legislative Republicans say this was in line with a request by Wolf., An administration spokesperson claimed Republicans disagreed with the funding.
5. Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker Mastriano doubles election audit, asks to meet with President Biden
Despite the state Democrats’ attempt to deter efforts to investigate the state’s last two elections, the GOP lawmaker leading the proposed review is not giving up. It doubles.
“A full forensic investigation is needed for reasons of transparency and accountability,” wrote Senator Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, in a letter he said was sent to President Joe Biden on Tuesday. “Those who have concerns about the integrity of the election will see those concerns investigated and hopefully addressed. Those who believe that there was no electoral fraud, no irregularity, and that the elections went perfectly will have a chance to be vindicated.
Mastriano, who shared the letter online Monday night, also asked to meet with Biden, who gave a speech on voting rights in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
And this is the week. See you here next weekend.