People are being exposed to PFAS chemicals at alarming rates. According to the EPA, these chemicals are found in a wide range of products that are used frequently in everyday life. The problem is that when exposed to high heat or certain conditions, these chemicals can leach from the surface of the product and into your body. There have been many cases of PFAS contamination discovered in water supply areas across the country, but fortunately, there are some ways you can limit your exposure and protect your health. If you aren’t familiar with what PFAS chemicals are, let us give you an explanation. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) make up this group of chemicals. They’re synthetic, they’re fluorinated compounds that resist fats and oils; making them perfect for use in food packaging or clothing stain-resistance sprays.
Avoiding PFAS Chemicals
The best way to avoid PFAS exposure is to avoid using products that contain these fluorinated compounds. This means avoiding any non-stick pots, pans, water-resistant clothing, and any food packaging such as popcorn bags that are labeled as “durable” or “stay-fresh”. You should also avoid eating at restaurants that use non-stick pans and make sure to clean the inside of your home thoroughly, especially if you have a non-stick range-top or frying pan. PFAS fluorinated chemicals are very persistent in the environment and they accumulate in the bodies of fish, birds, and mammals. Humans can be exposed via drinking water, food or outdoor air. Since these chemicals are widely used in commercial products, it is almost impossible to avoid daily PFAS exposure. It is not clear how much PFAS exposure is harmful to health.
What are the biggest sources for exposure?
In the home – The most significant source of PFAS exposure is from those fluorinated sprays used on non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, or furniture. You can also be exposed to PFAS chemicals from food packaging that uses these fluorinated compounds. At the workplace – Your job may put you in contact with PFAS chemicals. They are used in firefighting foams and aircraft de-icing fluids. They are also used in the manufacturing of commercial pesticides and in the production of some textiles. Outdoors – PFAS chemicals are used for water and soil remediation. This means that you may be exposed to PFAS chemicals from environmental contamination. Others – PFAS chemicals are used as dental floss, shampoos, cosmetics, and flea collars. In addition, some vinyl products such as yoga mats and children’s toys are made with a PFAS coating.
How to limit your exposure
It’s important to switch to non-toxic alternatives for any PFAS product that you use. – Switch to cast iron pots and pans that don’t have a non-stick coating. – Wash any stain-resistant clothing as soon as they get dirty. – Avoid drinking water from any contaminated water supply. Use a water filter to remove PFAS chemicals. You can also use a water bottle with a filter because you can replace the filter as needed. – Don’t eat fish from areas where the water is contaminated. – Avoid eating food that is labeled as “durable” or “stay-fresh”. – Avoid using dental floss that has a fluorinated coating. – Avoid using shampoos, cosmetics, and flea collars that have a fluorinated coating. – Make sure there are no PFAS coatings on any yoga mats or children’s toys in your home.
Where you’ll find PFAS chemicals
– Water and soil remediation – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has detected PFAS chemicals in public water systems near industrial sites that use these chemicals for water and soil remediation. – Food packaging – Food packaging products that are treated with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are high-volume ingredients used by the packaging industry. These include: baked goods, non-dairy creamers, coffee, corn chips, crackers, granola bars, potato chips, pretzels, popcorn etc. – Stain-resistant fabrics – Stain-resistant fabrics have been treated with fluorinated compounds such as PFOA or PFOS. – Non-stick cookware – Non-stick cookware, pots and pans often use PFOA and PFOS. – Commercial cleaning products – Commercial cleaning products often use PFOA and PFOS. – Airplane de-icing fluids – Fluorinated compounds such as PFOA and PFOS are used in airplane de-icing fluids. – Dental floss – Dental floss can be treated with fluorinated compounds such as PFOA and PFOS. – Shampoos and conditioners – Shampoos, conditioners, and other personal care products can be treated with fluorinated compounds such as PFOA and PFOS. – Some outdoor products – Certain outdoor products such as tents and sleeping bags can be treated with fluorinated compounds such as PFOA and PFOS.
If you are exposed to PFAS chemicals, there are some things you can do to protect your health. The first step is to avoid using products that contain fluorinated compounds. You can also start eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and stay hydrated. It’s also important to make sure your home is clean, so you can avoid breathing any dust or dirt that may contain fluorinated compounds.