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Here are some of the health risks linked to 'forever chemicals'

PFAS file
Posted at 4:09 PM, Apr 10, 2024

(WXYZ) — PFAS are used in the manufacturing of some of the everyday products we use like non-stick pans and waterproof clothing. They're referred to as "forever chemicals."

PFAS are a class of synthetic compounds. They’re basically a group of chemicals made by people. They’ve been produced in the US since the 1940s, and now, there are more than 12,000 types. The reason why they’re called “forever chemicals” is because they don’t break down or degrade in the environment. They’re almost impossible to destroy, so they stick around for a really long time, lasting for thousands of years.

Since PFAS are used in an enormous number of products and commercial applications, the chemicals have been able to contaminate water systems not just here in the US but around the world. And they’re not just found in our water, they’re also in our air, our soil, our food, and even in the blood of animals and humans. In fact, nearly all Americans have measurable amounts of these substances in their bodies. Sadly, they can stay in us for many years.

PFAS are highly toxic chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that there are no safe levels of exposure. That’s because PFAS can build up inside us, particularly in our blood and organs. They like to stick to proteins that carry hormones, antibodies, and cholesterol.

As for health risks, numerous studies have linked these man-made compounds to:

· Kidney, liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer

· Reproductive problems

· Low birth rate

· Weakened childhood immunity

· Weight gain in children

· Elevated cholesterol levels and

· Endocrine disruption – meaning they might mimic, block, or interfere with people's hormones

Furthermore, research indicates that PFAS may disrupt thyroid function, impact cardiovascular health, and compromise the body’s immune response to infections. Some studies have also linked PFAS exposure to diabetes, obesity, and developmental delays in children.

So, that’s why PFAS chemicals are a huge concern. And they’re hard to avoid as humans need water and food to survive. So, what can we do to cut back on exposure? Here are my recommendations. Check for PFAS in your drinking water using maps provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. If detected, consider installing a PFAS-certified In-home water filtration system. Also, think twice about buying stain or water-resistant products like carpets and fabrics. And consider avoiding non-stick cookware as they may still contain PFAS chemicals.