A Canadian laboratory can no longer sell a crucial product that independent researchers rely upon to test and analyze whether a particular PFAS chemical is present in soil or water, after the manufacturer of the chemical—Solvay S.A.—threatened the lab with legal action, according to documents reviewed by Consumer Reports and interviews.
The lab, Canada-based Wellington Laboratories, specializes in making “analytical standards” of chemicals, essentially pure versions of compounds that scientists can use to accurately monitor the presence and concentration of a contaminant in the environment. While the work may be obscure to the general public, for scientists, it provides a necessary tool to conduct accurate research of chemicals that little may be known about. And Solvay’s action is unprecedented, according to researchers and advocates who spoke to CR.
“Solvay is trying to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for academic scientists to accurately measure this compound in the environment,” says Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior scientist at CR.
Independent scientists and consumer advocates were outraged by Solvay’s legal maneuver, saying it represented a virtually unheard of tactic by manufacturers that will impede research into a new and emerging PFAS chemical.