Highly Fluorinated Chemicals
Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)
PFAS are a class of chemicals used since the 1950s to make materials grease- and water-resistant. Long-chain PFAS can persist in the environment; move easily through air, water and soil; bioaccumulate in fish and other animals; and harm human health. Since 2002, there have been voluntary efforts to phase out the use of long-chain PFAS from products like Teflon and GoreTex.
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PFAS in our bodies
Recent biomonitoring data shows us that over 90% of the population have detectable levels of these chemicals in our blood. And new evidence suggests that the short-chained replacements are more prone to accumulate in organ tissue. PFAS have been linked to cancer, organ damage, endocrine disruption and reproductive harm.
PFAS in our lives
The most commonly known PFAS are PFOA (commonly known as Teflon) and PFOS, which have been voluntarily phased out due to their ability to persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in animals and harm human health. But their replacements, commonly known as short-chained PFAS, are not well studied and the studies we do have indicate that there is cause for concern.
Progress to Protect health
After decades of pressure, manufacturers have voluntarily stopped manufacturing PFOA and PFOS in the United States but they are still used elsewhere around the globe. A Danish grocery store banned the use of all PFAS in the food packaging sold in their stores leading to innovation of safer alternatives in less than a year.