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All the facts, lined up.
PFAS is all over the news these days. There’s even a film about the issue, Dark Waters. And there’s a reason for that. Some PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been shown to be toxic for human health and the environment. PFAS have been dubbed ‘forever chemicals’ because of their sheer longevity when released into nature. The good news? There are other options. So it’s high time to choose a PFAS-free future. Here’s why.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemical compounds. They’re not a natural part of our ecosystem: scientists developed them to make products water-, grease- and dirt-repellent. Today, they’re a common component of everyday items like certain kinds of rain coats, food packaging, some cosmetics, textiles and various types of non-stick pans.
It takes an incredibly long time for PFAS to be broken down, with some probably only disappearing after a thousand years. Almost all PFAS that were ever produced still linger on our planet to this day.
During the production process, PFAS can end up in the air, the water and the earth, eventually making their way onto our plates. Just think of the fish, meat, fruit and vegetables we consume every day, or the water that comes from our kitchen taps. That’s how these PFAS, which we can’t get rid of, accumulate in our bodies.
Because of the way we’ve been producing PFAS for years, these days almost everyone’s blood contains PFAS. And that’s not the end of it: research has revealed pregnant women pass on these chemicals to their unborn children, so PFAS are even found in the blood of new-born babies. Studies also show that some PFAS damage our immune system and can be linked to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, fertility problems and cancer.
There is a solution, because alternatives exist. It’s simply a matter of making smart choices. As long as we keep buying products that contain PFAS, their production will continue – with all the risks that entails for our health and the planet.
‘How Teflon is made -Background, History, Raw Materials, The Manufacturing process of Teflon’ – 2006 ; ‘An Industrial Approach to Evaluation of Pyrolysis and Combustion Hazards‘ – Environmental Health Perspectives, 1975 Jun ; ‘Polymer fume fever and other fluorocarbon pyrolysis-related syndromes’ – Entrez PubMed, 1993 Jul ; ‘Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls.’ – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2018 Jun ; Intertek Labtest ‘Testing of a Frying Pan for Emission of Toxic Gases’ - 2007 July ; ‘Basic Information on PFAS’ – United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2018 Jun ; ‘KEMI Report Occurrence and use of highly fluorinated substances and alternatives’ – Swedish Chemicals Agency, 2015 ; ‘Fact Sheet PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories – United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2016 Nov ; ‘Supplying of scientific information concerning the safety and toxicology of: GreenPan™ cooking utensils and Thermolon™ anti-stick technology” – Prof. Dr. J. Tytgat, 2008 Feb ; ‘Polytetrafluoroethylene Toxicosis in Recently Hatched Chickens (Gallus domesticus)’ – Comp Med. 2012 Feb ; WWF Chain of Contamination: The Food Link – 2006 ‘Synthesis paper on per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCS)’ – OECD, 2013 ; ‘Working towards a global emission inventory of PFASS: focus on PFCAS – status quo and the way forward’ – OECD, 2015