What are PFAS doing to us?

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are receiving increasing attention, both from regulators and the general public.
They are a class of thousands of synthetic chemicals that have a wide range of industrial, professional and consumer uses including surface coatings for textiles, food contact materials and packaging, cleaning agents, paints, varnishes, polishes and waxes and in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, medical devices and products.

PFAS are so widely used because they have several desirable properties such as being stable under intense heat and having oil resistance, water resistance and low chemical reactivity. However, a majority of PFASs are persistent – meaning they do not break down – in the environment.
They have been used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, and some firefighting foams.

Further, some PFAS are known to accumulate in people, animals and plants and are linked to a range of health problems including kidney and testicular cancers, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil and water. People can also be exposed to them through food packaging and industrial exposure.

Certain PFAS are banned as a result of restrictions on the manufacture, sale and use of products containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPS are organic substances that persist in the environment and accumulate in living organisms.

POPs are regulated internationally under the Stockholm Convention and the Aarhus Protocol



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Saturday, 02 December 2023