What is PFAS and Why It Must Be Banned

What is PFAS and Why It Must Be Banned

Did you know there's an industrial chemical in the blood of nearly every person on earth? It can persist in the environment for over 1000 years, and millions of babies are being born polluted with it. This chemical has been linked to fertility issues, liver disease, and cancer. 

Despite its dangers, companies are hiding this chemical in innocent looking products you use everyday. It’s in your non-stick cookware, your takeout food, and it’s even in your drinking water. 

This toxic chemical is called "PFAS" and for the sake of our health and the planet, it must be banned.

What is PFAS?

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. It was first introduced in 1946, when DuPont brought out a range of non-stick cookware. Their cookware didn’t stick because it was coated in Teflon a type of PFAS. 

Since the invention of Teflon, over 4,700 varieties of PFAS have been created.

Where is PFAS Found?

PFAS is used for its ability to repel grease, stains, and water. It can be found in many household items you probably use everyday, including:

Common products with PFAS in them

PFAS is genuinely useful for making tings stain, water, or grease resistant, but it's not worth the health effects. Ask yourself this question: would you have some cheese stick to your takeout box, or cancer? 

It may surprise you to learn that PFAS has also been found in the drinking water of millions of Americans. In August 2021, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found PFAS contamination in almost 3,000 locations across the US. If you’re worried about PFAS pollution in your drinking water, the EWG has released an interactive map based on their research that can show you if there’s PFAS contamination where you live.  

Forever Chemicals 

The biggest problem with PFAS is that it's a “forever chemical”. PFAS takes many decades to break down in the environment - with a half life of 92 years. That means that PFAS produced now will still be around for generations to come. 

Because PFAS doesn’t break down and is constantly being made, PFAS pollution is growing at an unsustainable rate across the globe. As the amount of PFAS builds up in the environment, so does the toxicity.  

Everyone is polluted by PFAS now. When researchers tried to find someone with clean blood that was free of PFAS pollution they couldn't. They had to turn to samples from soldiers at the beginning of the Korean war. The rest of us have this cancer causing stuff in our bodies, even our children. 

If we continue producing PFAS at the current rate, we will be overwhelmed by these forever chemicals. That is why we must ban PFAS. 

PFAS and Human Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that PFAS is present in over 98% of the US population. 

PFAS has been shown to act as an endocrine disruptor, which means they interfere with your hormones. Hormones affect our sexual health, our metabolism, our mood, and the development of kids. Research suggests that exposure to PFAS can cause: 


PFAS and the Environment 

PFAS aren’t just persistent, but mobile too. Once they’ve got into the environment they can spread and infect even the furthest and most remote corners of the world. PFAS have been found in polar bears in Greenland, monkeys in China, and even in the snow on Mount Everest

PFAS are found in the ground, in the air, and in the water. The diagram below illustrates how PFAS get into the environment and how they’re able to spread across the globe. 

How PFAS accumulates in the natural world
Source: https://www.pfasfree.org.uk/

PFAS and Animals

Like humans, animals can be exposed to PFAS through their diet and environment. Because of its ability to spread across the globe, PFAS has been found in almost all species that have been tested for PFAS contamination. This includes wildlife, livestock, and our pets

Research has linked PFAS to a variety of negative health outcomes in animals, like: 

Animal

Potential Health Impacts of PFAS

Rodents (mice and rats)

Fish 

Reptiles and Amphibians 

Birds

Mammals


The results of these studies highlight the devastating effect that PFAS are having across the animal world, and it's only going to grow unless we do something. 

PFAS must be banned

PFAS is harming us and the world we live in. Because PFAS is a forever chemical, the damage will keep growing if we keep using it.

It is simply not sustainable to keep pumping more and more of these forever chemicals into the world. If we continue at our current rate of production, PFAS will soon build up to intolerable levels in our bodies and the environment. Once it gets to this point, there may be no turning back.

Despite that, PFAS is used constantly by big companies and for ridiculous reasons. It's insane that PFAS is used in things like single use takeout boxes and fast food wrappers. Doing that ensures we'll all get exposed to PFAS when we eat from polluted containers and the natural world will be polluted when we toss them out. 

The only reason they get away with it is most people don't know. They don't really think about how a cardboard box is so good at stopping grease.

But now you know. And now that you know we have a favor to ask you, 

What can you do?

  • Spread the Word: simply tell your family or friends. They probably don't know this stuff is around them and in their bodies. You can help them by giving them a heads up. 

  • Contact Local Government: The EWG has created a handy form that makes it easy for you to contact your representatives in Congress about PFAS. There is a movement to ban PFAS in Congress already, but it could use your support.

  • Sign a Petition: Make your voice heard and sign petitions that demand that PFAS are no longer used. Some current petitions you can sign include:
    • Stay Informed: subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you'd like to stay informed about PFAS and other hormone disrupting chemicals like BPA and phthalates.

    If you have any questions about PFAS and how you can avoid them, please get in touch. We’re on hand to help guide you to a chemical-free future. 

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