What are they?
PFAS (Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are a group of thousands of man-made chemicals used in the international manufacturing industry since the 1940s. PFOA, PFOS, and GenX have been produced in the largest quantities, and resultantly, are most studied among this class of chemicals.
Where are they found?
PFAS has been used in a wide range of products including firefighting foams, food containers, nonstick pans, cleaning products, paints, electronics manufacturing, and stain and water-resistant textiles.
Why should I care?
PFAS are pervasive in the environment remaining in natural waterways indefinitely with bioaccumulation occurring in humans and animals. Studies performed by the American Cancer society found PFAS present internationally in nearly everyone’s blood at low levels. Health impact correlates to concentration and frequency of exposure with more research greatly needed to determine the full impact of the PFAS family of chemicals. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the below conditions are linked to PFAS exposure:
- Fertility Issues
- Increased risk of certain cancers (testicular and kidney
- Changes in fetal and child development
- Changes in the immune system
- Liver damage
- Increased risk of thyroid disease
- Increased risk of asthma
New alternatives are regularly being developed to replace more harmful chemicals. The impact of new alternatives is largely unknown.
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