PFAS And Its Impact on Humans

PFAS are chemicals used in everything from textiles to paper and food packaging. In the last few years, exposure to these chemicals has become a concern for society with effects that include “gastrointestinal problems, certain cancers and hormone issues.”
As there is an enormous rise in cancer cases just because of PFAS, people started filing PFAS cancer lawsuits against the contamination of drinking water. If you are one of them, you should know more about PFAS and how it is harming human health.

Introduction to PFAS

PFAS stands for Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, which are created on a large scale through current manufacturing processes. PFAS are found in a variety of consumer products such as fire engines, cookware, children’s clothing and social media. These chemicals have toxic properties that include an immune bias reaction, carcinogenicity, and rodent mutations to name a few. It is estimated  that over 13 million people will be affected by PFAS drinking water contamination in upcoming years.

Timeline of Use

PFAS belongs to a category of chemicals called fluorinated organic compounds frequently used in non-stick cookware and stain repellents. The European Union recently banned any products containing PFAS, however many American companies still have them because they have not already been phased out.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, have been around for decades.  According to a study done by a Washington State Department of Health, an estimated 18 million Americans drink water with PFAS present at levels above the health advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Impact On Environment

PFAS are usually found in commercial surfaces like Teflon and carpets. They have been nicknamed the Toxic Twins because they are persistent once they enter the environment. Although it may take many years for PFAS to show signs of harm, there is proof of harm already in certain areas with water sources. Some experts believe that PFAS are at a risk of contaminating blood across all species and humans have accumulated up to five-to-six times more PFAS than fish.

Health Effects of PFAS

PFAS has been found in seafood, drinking water, and soil. It is a chemical that was not widely used until the 1970s. Currently, some PFAS have been phased out because they pose health threats.

Some of the chemicals used in these products are so similar to human hormones, they can affect human fertility and lead to autoimmune diseases. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies PFAS as an unregulated pollutant that may be present in the air we breathe and may increase the chances of contracting cancer or other health problems.

Water contamination around military bases is where people are exposed to PFAS most often. Exposure to PFAS has been associated with increased risk of cancer, thyroid problems, and other developmental disorders in children.

Who is responsible?

There is no perfect answer to the question “who are responsible?” However, a major source of PFAS-related contamination in humans is seen in the manufacturing of a Teflon firefighting foam called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).

A $3.3-Million class action lawsuit was filed by Columbia Frontline Contractors against Retzlaff GMBH and Chemflect for releasing PFAS-contaminated wastewater into groundwater.

Conclusion

PFAS, or Perfluorinated Synthetic Organic Chemicals are found in more than 6,000 products including cookware, food wrappers, stain-resistant carpets, fire-fighting foams, medical devices and much more. They’re so persistent that they accumulate in the human body and have been detected deep in groundwater and polar ice.

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