Although researchers have been working to mitigate the risks involved with toxic substances, there are still many things that we need to find out for our health and the environment. For example, we are not much aware of the harmful effects of PFAS.
There are hundreds of PFAS compounds found in our environment, including air, water, soil, and even the fish that we eat. Scientists and researchers have studied only a few of them, while the rest still needs to be explored. They are harmful to our health and can damage the environment adversely.
If you are hearing this term for the first time, here’s a brief explanation of the subject.
What is PFAS?
PFAS, an abbreviation for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, refers to a large and complex group of synthetic chemicals that most manufacturers include in our daily products. These man-made chemicals have a backbone of carbon and fluorine atoms.
Different groups of PFAS compounds have varying elements, sometimes even including hydrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. As a result, PFAS compounds serve different functions, such as making carpets and clothes more stain-resistant or making cookware more non-sticky.
But, unfortunately, these chemical compounds are harmful to Mother Earth because of the strong bond between the carbon and fluorine atoms, preventing them from degrading into the environment.
Needless to say, there needs to be a solid law that puts a bar on the usage of these toxic chemicals for the safety and welfare of the consumers. If we don’t work towards a PFAS remediation, that day is not far when the world will be filled with unhealthy people!
Why Should We Care About PFAS?
You may wonder why there’s a sudden concern about PFAS compounds and why we should start taking it seriously! According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, scientists cannot measure the half-life for PFAS, which refers to the time taken by 50% of these chemical compounds to disintegrate or break down into nature.
Studies show that PFAS chemicals cannot break down easily, so scientists are worried about the extent of harm they can do to our health and environment. As a result, the PFOA Stewardship Program has stopped the production of specific toxic PFAS in the United States, and eight major chemical manufacturing companies have agreed to that.
However, sadly they are still in use through various imported products. Besides, many chemical companies in the US are still manufacturing their goods using various PFAS. It’s time that these companies need to opt for PFAS remediation to save the planet!
Health Hazards of PFAS
PFAS usually comes from the food you eat and the household products you use. These substances will stay in your body for a long time, affecting your quality of life in the long run. Some of the health risks associated with high levels of PFAS are –
- Lower birth weight
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Thyroid problems
- Abnormal changes in your immune system
- Increased risks of kidney or testicular cancer.
- The water and soil that helps to grow your food crops
- Packaging material
- Some processing equipment
- Nonstick cookware
- Certain makeup products
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