You are not just exposed in one place or one source … they are everywhere. Who is responsible?
Let’s start with what PFAS are …
PFAS are a class of more than 9,000 chemicals that are known for their water- and stain-resistant properties, but research now links them to cancer, immune disease, and hypertension and shows that they don’t break down in the environment. Many studies have found PFAS in the blood of 98 percent of the U.S. population. There are thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturers … so why are these in so many of our products?
Nicknamed, “Forever Chemicals” because they are just that, DuPont introduced these devils in 1946 through nonstick cookware coated with Teflon. Today, the “family” of “fluorinated chemicals” that sprang from Teflon includes thousands of nonstick, stain-repellent and waterproof compounds called PFAS, short for “per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances”.
PFAS are used in a mind-boggling amount of consumer products from raincoats to yoga pants, pots and pans to carpet, water to pizza boxes.
Think Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, Gore-Tex etc. All of these years of heavy use have resulted in contamination of water, soil and the blood of animals, and our blood … around the entire world. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it was discovered that exposure to PFAS chemicals over time can increase the risk of cancer, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system, and interfere with the body’s hormones.
PFAS are persistent and never break down so they remain in our bodies and the soil, air, and water doing forever damage.
In 2001, a scandal erupted in West Virginia, USA, after the discovery of the Teflon chemical in the drinking water of tens of thousands of people near a DuPont plant. (I strongly suggest you watch the film “The Devil We Know.” and/or Mark Ruffalo’s film, Dark Waters.)
A class-action lawsuit uncovered evidence that DuPont knew PFAS was hazardous and had contaminated tap water but didn’t tell its workers, local communities or environmental officials. This lawsuit also triggered studies linking the Teflon chemical to major health and wellness related issues.
Although the original PFAS chemical used to make Teflon has been taken off the market, Teflon and other brands of nonstick cookware are still produced with new PFAS that may be no safer. Plus, Canada and US governments allow imported products from places it has not been banned in manufacturing.
The “family” of this class of chemical include PFOA, PFOS and other highly fluorinated chemicals which contaminate tap water for at least 7 million Americans, and likely more than double that number. Although studies show there may be no safe level of exposure to PFOA and PFOS, the Environmental Protection Agency has not set a legal limit for the chemicals in tap water. What???
Where are we exposed to PFAS? (and to note: this is not an ingredient labelled on products)
How concerned should we be?
And what can we do?