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5 Characteristics of PFAS You Might Not Know, But Should
March 12th, 2019
PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals that are made up of over 4,000 compounds. But how much is known about these chemicals, and why has there been such an increase in awareness of the negative health effects these substances can have? Below are 5 characteristics of PFAS that you might not know, but probably should:
- PFAS Regulation - there are two PFAS compounds that have the most regulation by the EPA. These are perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Both compounds are present in the environment and can accumulate in the human body - causing negative health effects.
- PFAS Uses - because PFAS is resistant to heat, water and oil, these substances have been used for decades in commercial and industrial applications such as firefighting foam, vapor suppression and waterproofing. However, these substances have also been used in items you use everyday, such as products with stain resistance (apparel), anti-stick coating (cookware) and fire retardancy (apparel, carpeting).
- PFAS Health Risks - Recent studies and research have concluded that PFAS - even in lower concentrations relative to other chemicals - can pose a significant health risk primarily because these compounds exist in the environment in soil, groundwater and surface water and can travel great distances due to their chemical properties.
- PFAS Exposure Limits - The EPA has established combined PFOA and PFOS exposure above 70 ppt as cause for concern and has issued a Lifetime Health Advisory accordingly.
- PFAS Health Effects - Low infant birth weights, increased blood cholesterol, higher likelihood of developing liver disease, thyroid disease, asthma, and possibly infertility or hypertension during pregnancy.
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