PFAS Chemical: A Nonstick Horror

As a result of industrial leaks and the usage of firefighting foam, PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, have become well-known as drinking water pollutants. Now here the question arises where are PFAS chemicals found. However, they're found in a wide range of products, from food packaging to stain-resistant furniture, and we're exposed to them through a variety of channels.

PFAS have become global contaminants that threaten the health of people and wildlife due to their amazing persistence and mobility—they are not known to break down in the environment and migrate through soil to drinking water. What products contain PFAS?

The Persistence of PFAS: The 'Forever Chemicals' Coming Under Regulatory Scrutiny - EHS Daily Advisor

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These compounds are used in many products, including:

  • Food packagings, such as microwave popcorn bags or fast-food wrappers

  • Furniture, rugs, and carpets that are stain-resistant;

  • non-stick cookware;

  • Outdoor gear coated with "durable water repellent".

  • Aerospace, automotive, and medical applications

  • Many specialty items, such as firefighting mousses, ski wax, and industrial applications.

How were we exposed?

PFAS can be found in food, indoor air, dust and even drinking water. Global contamination of food, water, and air has been caused by PFAS-containing products and manufacturing releases.

  • Food: The PFAS that can be found in crops, fish, and livestock can eventually contaminate the food we eat. Additionally, PFAS can migrate to food when they are used in food packaging like sandwich wrappers or takeout containers.

  • Dust and indoor air:  When PFAS is used in products like stain proofing furniture and carpets or waterproofing clothing, these items are called "PFAS factories" and release the chemicals over time into the air and dust.

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