Why Using Forever Chemicals Is Unsustainable for Manufacturers

Today, amidst the need for significant changes to fight against climate change, manufacturing has come under fire for age-old practices. While many manufacturers are at the forefront of innovation via green energy, recycling, and sustainable production, there’s much more to do.

At the top of the list is the effort to address “forever chemicals” and their role in manufacturing. Recent developments have shed light on how devastating they are — and exposed manufacturers to liability if they choose to continue using them.

What are forever chemicals?

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals posing a serious threat to our health and environment. They’re referred to as “forever chemicals” because they can’t be broken down naturally and can persist in the environment for decades.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry widely uses PFAS and has for decades. These chemicals can be found in countless items such as nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and food packaging.

Over the last decade, PFAS have been closely studied and linked to health problems, including cancer and impaired immune system function. Yet despite their dangers, PFAS remain unregulated in numerous countries. Their widespread use in everyday products highlights the urgent need to find safe alternatives — and now there are legal precedents to spur action.

A growing number of lawsuits

In recent months, lawsuits filed against manufacturers over their use of PFAS have increased dramatically. While some of these suits have been settled for significant or undisclosed sums, many are ongoing and have the potential to carry considerable fines and penalties.

These lawsuits are not being brought by private plaintiffs, as municipalities have begun taking action. Several states have sued manufacturing giants including DuPont, 3M, and Corteva, demanding payment for past and future costs associated with PFAS contamination. Besides the financial implications, these cases mark a major shift in liability for manufacturers, who may be held responsible for the adverse effects of these chemicals.

This increase in litigation highlights the concerns surrounding the use of PFAS and the need for manufacturers to explore safer alternatives.

Altering the molecular landscape

It’s clear the use of PFAS in manufacturing isn’t sustainable. What was once thought of as a revolutionary development in manufacturing is now considered reckless — and for good reason. Not only is the damage to the environment irreversible, but companies can also be held liable for a growing list of health implications caused by unregulated exposure.

It’s time for manufacturers to change their ways. They must be more conscious of their practices for the sake of the environment and for their own protection. The way products are manufactured must change, and it’s up to industry leaders to take the necessary steps toward a safer, more sustainable future.

Sustainability doesn’t stop with responsible manufacturing — it includes efficient production. When it comes to efficient maintenance, you can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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