PFAS, or 'the forever chemicals, due to their long-lasting nature, are present in nonstick cookware, food packaging, and stain repellents and can cause health issues. Knowing the sources, making conscious decisions about products, limiting processed and packaged foods, and opting for safer alternatives are essential. You can protect yourself and your family from potential harm through these steps.
What is PFAS?
PFAS are a class of chemical substances used in various commercial and industrial applications, including nonstick cookware, stain repellents, and food packaging.
There are two main types of PFAS:
- Traditional PFAS
- Next-generation PFAS (also known as 'long-chain' PFAS).
Traditional PFAS include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), which have been phased out in the United States due to health concerns.
Next-generation PFAS such as perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) have also been identified as contaminants in drinking water and other consumer products. Unfortunately, next-generation PFAS are not regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Health effects of PFAS
PFAS exposure at low levels can cause a few health risks and medical conditions, such as weakened immunity, thyroid issues, and cancer. Research is ongoing to see if it can impact fetus/baby growth and development, but these results are not definitive. Pregnant women can pass on PFAS to their fetuses, which could hurt the infant's health. Also, children exposed to PFAS in their young years may be at a higher risk for getting ADHD in the future.