Forever Chemicals are everywhere affecting 140 industries, and at least 45% of drinking water


Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Forever’ Chemicals Are Nearly Everywhere. These Companies Are Helping Clean Up the Mess
  • The planet has a problem with “forever” chemicals. Known as PFAS, the chemicals are everywhere—from our nonstick cookware to our waterproof clothes, and smartphones. The chemicals are even in our drinking water and bloodstreams, and have been linked to increased risk of cancer in humans, among other issues.
  • “PFAS touches so many sectors,” says Dimple Gosai, clean tech analyst and head of U.S. ESG research at BofA Securities. The chemicals are pervasive in consumer apparel and food packaging, she notes, and are having an impact on insurers, industrial companies, and water utilities. “It’s a risk I think everyone needs to care about.”
  • More than 9,800 lawsuits alleging harm from PFAS have been launched across 140 industries since 1999, leading to $16.7 billion in settlements, according to a recent report from risk consultancy Milliman.
  • Contaminated water is a growing concern. According to a 2023 study by the U.S. Geological Survey, at least 45% of tap water is estimated to have one or more types of PFAS

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Rio’s homeless brave unprecedented cold

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -As an unusual cold snap stuns residents of Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian city famous for its sun, sand and sea, the city’s homeless have been struggling to sleep through the chill.

“It’s very cold. Even with two blankets and a quilt, I still felt horrible last night,” Flávio, who is homeless, said.

A polar air mass has been traveling toward the country’s center-south regions this week, bringing fast winds and rare snowfall to communities unfamiliar with low temperatures — and to street residents ill-equipped to handle them.

In Rio, Jeniffer Faria da Silva and Marlon Lemos Mollulo have been distributing warm food, blankets, clothes, shoes and bread to the city’s street residents as part of a project they began a year and a half ago. Traveling through the city at night, they’ve been placing thermal liners on concrete, where dozens of the city’s homeless sleep side by side to stay warm.

“There’s a lot of suffering, especially in Rio where we aren’t used to having these kinds of temperatures. We don’t have the right infrastructure to cope with the cold, and some of these people also have pets,” Silva said.

The polar air mass is slated to bring freezing temperatures to São Paulo and Minas Gerais, major producers of key commodities like sugar, citrus and coffee.

Temperatures in Rio are expected to drop to an unusual low of 9°C on Friday before gradually starting to warm up in August.

(Reporting by Sergio Queiroz, writing by Jimin Kang, Editing by Nick Zieminski)