EARTH Thailand

Activists call for PFAS chemicals ban

Bangkok Post  8 February 2024 | APINYA WIPATAYOTIN


Activists have called on the government to ban Per-and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS), hazardous chemicals in the textile industry and other commodities, saying it would raise awareness among consumers who need green products for their health and the environment.


Thitikorn Boontongmai, planning manager of Ecological Alert and Recover- Thailand (EARTH), said PFAS are banned in many countries and campaigns against their use have been launched in others. PFAS affect fertility in humans and growth in infants and remain almost permanently in the environment, reports say.


Mr Thitikorn said his organisation, along with the Foundation for Consumers, conducted a study on PFAS contamination in textile products in Thailand. It was part of a global study on PFAS in the textile industry by the independent agency, the International Pollutants Elimination Network (Ipen).


The study was conducted in 13 countries, including Thailand. Some 56 jackets and 16 other types of clothing were collected in 2021-2023 and sent for PFAS laboratory tests. Over half showed signs of PFAS contamination as a result of their water and oil-proofing properties.


Mr Thitikorn said Earth sent six jackets from various stores for the tests and all were treated with these chemicals. He added that Earth has also tested underwear since 2013, the results of which showed an excessive amount of harmful chemicals.


"PFAS is rather new among Thai consumers. We need to raise awareness of their impacts on health. The government should ban hazardous chemicals to protect people and the environment," he said.


Tasanee Nan-udon, deputy director of the Foundation for Consumers, said it is alarming that textile products contaminated with PFAS are found in infant's and children's clothes. Both organisations want the government to ban PFAS and encourage the use of safer chemicals, even if financial help is needed to get over a transitional period.