What Are PFAS?
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). These elements have a negative effect on the health of those exposed to them. Used as early as the 1940s, PFAS were once thought of as beneficial because of their ability to repel fire, water, oil and stains. Since PFAS functioned as great repellents, companies used them to produce a variety of products, including:
- Stain- and water-resistant fabrics
- Non-stick products
- Cleaning products
- Fire-fighting foams
Many companies began phasing out the production of PFAS in 2000. However, these chemicals continue to have a residual impact on the environment today as they have polluted the air, soil and water. PFAS contamination is still found in water supplies across North America. Learn more about PFAS, how you could be exposed to them and what you can do to help protect your family below.
How Are We Exposed To PFAS?
There are three major ways in which you can still be exposed to PFAS today, including:
Household Products Containing PFAS
Using or disposing of products that contain PFAS can lead to exposure. PFAS sources can include:
- Non-stick cookware
- Stain-resistant apparel, textiles, leather or carpets
- Paper and packaging materials
PFAS In Food Packaging
You can be exposed to small amounts of PFAS by ingesting food that has been contaminated by being:
- Packaged in material containing PFAS
- Processed with equipment that used PFAS
- Grown in contaminated water or soil
PFAS In Water
Small amounts of PFAS can accumulate in your body over time. PFAS water contamination is typically associated with areas in close proximity to a specific facility, for example:
- An industrial site where PFAS were used to manufacture other products
- Locations used for firefighting, such as oil refineries and airfields, often have contaminated water supplies, since PFAS were heavily used in fire-fighting foams
If you’re concerned about PFOS or PFOA and your water quality, schedule a free water test from your Ising’s Culligan Water expert today.