Whether you’re a chemist or just an everyday consumer, you should know the risks associated with forever chemicals. You should know where we find them and the hazards they present. Below is a list of common forever chemicals in various products and industries:
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Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) – Found in firefighting foam, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets, and non-stick cookware. Exposure to PFOS has been linked to developmental issues and liver damage.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – Used in the production of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces, and in firefighting foam. Exposure to PFOA increases the risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
Bisphenol A (BPA) – Found in plastics, food packaging, and thermal receipts. Exposure to BPA can lead to developmental issues and an increased risk of heart disease.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – A group of chemicals used in electrical equipment and paint. Exposure to PCBs can lead to cancer and immune system disruption.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – Used as flame retardants in electronics, furniture, and textiles. Exposure to PBDEs can lead to developmental issues and impaired cognition.
Triclosan – An antibacterial agent found in soap, toothpaste, and cutting boards. Exposure to triclosan can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Organophosphate pesticides – Commonly used in agriculture. Exposure to these pesticides has been linked to developmental issues and cancer.
Beyond the List of Forever Chemicals – What You Can Do
They’re forever chemicals because they do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in the soil, water and air. Long-term exposure leads to a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, developmental issues and impaired immune function.
Avoid the above list of forever chemicals by choosing products that have been third-party tested and certified free of them.
Here is a general list of products meeting that criteria for forever chemicals:
- Certified organic food products – These products must meet strict standards and are free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
- EWG Verified personal care products – The Environmental Working Group has a rigorous verification process for personal care products, and those that are EWG Verified are free of potentially harmful chemicals, including forever chemicals.
- Textiles certified by Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 – This certification ensures that textiles have been tested and are free from harmful levels of more than 300 substances, including forever chemicals.
- Green Seal-certified cleaning products – This certification is given to cleaning products that meet strict environmental and health standards, including being free from forever chemicals.
- Water filters certified by NSF International – NSF International certifies water filters for the reduction of various contaminants, including forever chemicals.
Consumers can also check product labels, looking for phrases such as “PFAS-free” or “free from forever chemicals.”
Do your research. Choose products from companies with transparent disclosure policies. But then, be sure they’re committed to reducing or ending forever chemicals.
We must create solutions that safely dispose of these chemicals and reduce their use in various industries. It is imperative that we take swift action to reduce exposure to forever chemicals for the health and well-being of our environment and communities.