For decades, PFAS have been used to manufacture industrial and consumer goods. However, in recent years, this group of man-made chemicals has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Numerous studies have found that PFAS exposure is harmful to human health. Unlike other chemicals, this synthetic compound is toxic even at low doses.
PFAS are of concern because they are present everywhere, from cosmetics and clothes to human blood. Plus, it is persistent. Neither does it break down in the environment nor the human body. Maybe that’s why it’s referred to as forever chemicals.
The only way to reduce your risk of health issues associated with PFAS is to limit exposure to it. But which products contain PFAS? This guide discusses just that. Continue reading, then!
Health Effects of PFAS
A large number of studies have discovered a link between PFAS exposure and adverse health effects among humans. Multiple animal studies have found that PFAS in blood can damage the liver and the immunity system. In lab animals, forever chemicals have resulted in delayed development, birth defects, low birth weight, and newborn deaths.
Studies on the human population have discovered that exposure to PFAS leads to a host of health issues. These include several types of cancers, kidney and liver diseases, lipid and insulin dysregulation, altered immune and thyroid function, and adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes.
Products That Contain PFAS
This human-made chemical is ubiquitous, meaning it is present everywhere. Beyond soil and groundwater, PFAS is found in an array of products. In this section, we’ll discuss a few common products that are treated with forever chemicals.
1. Non-Stick Cookware
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of certain PFAS in food contact applications since the 1960s. However, the FDA’s website reveals that non-stick coatings that are used in cookware can transfer to the food.
Teflon, the non-stick coating, is considered safe on its own, but it could pose a threat to human health when heated above 300°F. Researchers at the University of Southern California confirmed that exposure to PFAS in cookware has been linked to an increased risk of nonviral hepatocellular carcinoma (a type of liver cancer).
2. Firefighting Foams
Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which is among the major sources of PFAS pollution in California water, contains PFAS. This PFAS-containing foam is a fire suppressant and is highly effective at extinguishing flammable liquid fires.
Many peer-reviewed journals reveal that one of the most common sources of exposure to PFAS for firefighters is AFFF. It’s predominantly used to extinguish Class B fires. AFFF used in firefighting is also among the primary causes of groundwater contamination with forever chemicals.
Several studies have examined the link between occupational exposure to PFAS and cancer incidences. While the results are inconsistent, they more or less suggest an elevated risk of testicular, prostate, and colon cancers.
A recent article by the Mesothelioma Veterans Center revealed that U.S. veterans developed cancer due to exposure to AFFF while serving their country.
Lawyers across the country are filing AFFF foam cancer lawsuits on behalf of people who developed cancer due to exposure to PFAS-containing foam. Through the AFFF foam cancer lawsuit, plaintiffs can recover damages for the health problems they have suffered due to exposure to the fire suppressant.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that AFFF manufacturers were aware of the potential risks linked with the use of their products, yet they produced and marketed them as safe. More than a dozen companies are named in the lawsuit, among which include ChemDesign Inc., Chemguard Inc., Chemours, DuPont, and 3M, notes TorHoerman Law.
Besides firefighters, industrial workers, airport workers, and people living near AFFF facilities are eligible to file the AFFF foam cancer lawsuit.
3. Cosmetic Products
Did you know that several cosmetic products, such as lipstick, foundation, nail polish, mascara, eyeshadow, and eyeliner, contain PFAS? We didn’t know either. Forever chemicals are highly valuable to the makeup industry due to their long-lasting wear time.
The British Beauty Council reveals that certain PFAS are added to cosmetics to make them water-resistant, smooth, and easy to apply. Another study reports that cosmetics and personal care products with fluorinated ingredients could also contain PFAS.
Major cosmetic companies selling makeup products awash with PFAS are Inglot, Revolution, and Urban Decay. New research has discovered that exposure to forever chemicals increases a woman’s odds of developing “hormonally driven” cancers.
The list of items that contain PFAS by no means ends here. Microwave popcorn bags, dishwasher and laundry detergent, clothing such as sports bras and yoga pants, stain and water-resistant carpets, paints, and mattress pads are other items that are formulated using forever chemicals.
By avoiding non-stick cookware, checking the labels of personal care products, and choosing carpets and furniture that aren’t stain-resistant, you can limit your exposure to PFAS. A host of websites, such as the Environmental Working Group, offer guides to PFAS-free products. You can browse them to learn more about PFAS and shop mindfully.