What are PFAS Chemicals and Why Should You Care?
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals used in products such as cookware and clothing. More like the technology that gives us anti-stick pans and waterproof/stainproof clothing. These compounds harness one of the strongest covalent bonds ever created in the field of chemistry (carbon/fluorine bond). This attribute earns these compounds the term “forever chemicals“. The reason is that, they are very difficult to break down. There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking PFASs to serious health issues like cancer and thyroid disease.
Effects of PFAS on Environment and Your Health
PFAS is a class of chemicals that have been used for decades in a wide range of industries and consumer products. You can find them in many types of food packaging, clothing, furniture upholstery, and firefighting foams. The most well-known PFAS is PFOA.
PFOA & PFOS are acronyms for perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate respectively. These chemicals have been used as a surfactant to make products like paper, carpets, and clothing water repellent.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified PFOA as likely carcinogenic to humans.
Six Ways Humans are Exposed to PFAS and how to Reduce Exposure
There are six ways humans can be exposed to PFAS:
- drinking contaminated water
- eating contaminated food
- using firefighting foams containing PFAS
- breathing air that contains PFAS,
- touching or living in contact with surfaces that contain PFASs and
- coming in contact with people who have been exposed to PFASs.
Common ways we can reduce exposure to PFASs are:
- avoid using products with PFASs;
- avoid eating food grown near or contaminated by PFASs
- you need to read all datasheets before using any product