June 25, 2021
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Alicia Timme-Laragy made a presentation on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Massachusetts PFAS Interagency Task Force at a public hearing held on June 15, 2021.
Sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals found in everything from firefighting foams to carpets that can build up and contaminate drinking water. The new 19-member state task force, co-chaired by state senator Julian Cyr and state representative Kate Hogan, was formed in response to their presence in community water systems statewide. It aims to provide legislators, agencies, experts and stakeholders with information on the best approach to prevent and mitigate contamination statewide, including educating the public, researching alternatives to things that contain these substances, and the cost effectiveness of different approaches, among other objectives. The task force must present a report to state legislators by the end of the year.
An expert on developmental toxicology, Timme-Laragy began working with state legislators on the potential health risks posed by PFAS chemicals through her work as a UMass Public Engagement Faculty Fellow in 2019. The task force invited her to speak on the potential ways people could encounter PFAS chemicals that could pose an exposure risk and the potential human health outcomes associated with those exposures.
The hearing can be viewed here. Timme-Laragy's presentation begins at the 31:00 mark.