You hear all sorts of fear mongering about what to avoid, but the government has finally stepped in on this one. What you should know about PFAS is that they are chemicals that don’t leave the environment. Like plastic, it seems that the residue from PFAS stays in our bodies and the environment forever—and it’s potentially harmful to your health. Keep reading to find out how to avoid PFAS.
What Are PFAS?
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which is used to describe a group of man-made substances that has been used and manufactured since the 1940s. PFAS do not break down, which is why they are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” They stay in your body and the environment without decomposing.
The most common types of PFAS are PFOA and PFOS which are used for non-stick coatings on cookware as well as for water- and stain-resistant repellants, firefighting foam, and packaging. PFAS contamination can happen during cooking or while your food or drink is sitting in its container. During analysis, scientists must use the right equipment when testing for PFAS to avoid contamination from lab instruments. Other common places that PFAS is found include:
- Drinking water
- Food packaging
- Furniture polishes and stains
The EPA Does Not Regulate All PFAS
Prior to recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not regulate PFAS. Since it started to regulate them through a stewardship program, PFAS are no longer produced in the United States. You may still own an item that was made with PFAS, though. Further, companies with operations outside of America can still ship products into the U.S. that use PFAS.
Reasons To Avoid PFAS
The EPA started regulating PFAS due to evidence of health problems it may cause. You can avoid PFAS by asking manufacturers if their products contain them. Avoid non-stick cookware and foodstuff with packaging that may contaminate your food. Possible health problems that have been linked to PFAS exposure include:
- Low infant birth weight
- Thyroid disease
- Poor immune system
- Kidney failure
- Liver damage
What you should know about PFAS is to stay away from them. Harmful chemicals don’t have a place in our environment. The quicker we eliminate them, the quicker we can return to a happier and healthier world.