The Dangers of Forever Chemicals
What Are PFAS Chemicals?
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a.k.a. PFAS, are a group of human-made substances that have been in countless commercial and consumer products since the 1950s. Many dub them as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down quickly, and they can remain in soil and water for long periods.
There are thousands of types of PFAS chemicals, but the two most common types are PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).
Why Is PFAS Exposure So Dangerous?
PFAS do not just persist in the environment; some of them also accumulate in animals and people. Once these toxic chemicals reach the human body, they can remain for up to eight years. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) classify them as harmful substances.
Many studies link several health concerns to PFAS, including:
- Cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer designates certain PFAS as possibly cancerous based on evidence relating exposure to kidney cancer. Results from animal studies also find that PFAS can induce tumors.
- Compromised immune system. In one 2012 study on children, those with more PFAS in their system had much poorer vaccine responses.
- Hormone disruption. Lab tests show that many PFAS affect our body’s hormone balance. Effects include lower estrogen production, thyroid disease, and weight gain. People exposed to PFAS also have higher-than-normal cholesterol levels.
- Liver and kidney damage. Many studies associate PFAS with kidney and liver damage, degeneration, and loss of function.
Is Your Baby at Risk from Forever Chemicals?
Given the many health risks of PFAS pollution, it is normal for a parent to be concerned about unknowingly exposing their child. Sadly, in some cases, the damage may already be done. For example, in 2005 and 2009, independent lab studies funded by the Environmental Working Group and other health organizations found PFAS in umbilical cord samples from babies born in the US.
These tests exposed the shocking truth that mothers can pass PFAS chemicals to their fetuses through the umbilical cord. Moreover, PFAS can also make their way through breast milk.
Sources of PFAS
What can you do as a parent to reduce your child’s risk to PFAS chemicals? The first step is to familiarize yourself with their most common sources, like:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet set legal limits on PFAS in drinking water, which is a clear violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute even note that the EPA is already aware of PFAS pollution in water supplies. As a result, an estimated 110 million Americans still use tap water from contaminated sites with fluorinated chemicals.
The previous Trump administration threatened to veto a new bill that seeks to limit PFAS in drinking water, but luckily, it is still on the table.
Because PFAS can contaminate soil, they can build up in crops and livestock. Fish from PFAS-contaminated water may also pose a health risk. For you and your child’s safety, it is essential to know the source of your food. Our selection at Tastyganics is guaranteed safe by both US and European standards.
Even the package your food comes in may contain a hazardous substance. Some types of pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, and fast food wrappers use PFAS chemicals that can contaminate your food. Fortunately, many laws passed in 2018 ban PFAS in food packaging.
Everyday items like nonstick cookware have a PFAS Teflon chemical. Water-repellent clothes, floor wax, and stain-resistant furniture also have high amounts of PFAS. While current laws require the chemical industry to remove PFAS from the items we use, it is still important to remain vigilant.
Choosing Between Breastfeeding and Milk Formula
It is also essential for a parent to decide between breastfeeding a child or providing them with high-quality milk formula. A growing number of researchers, health professionals, and studies show that PFAS contamination can cause short- and long-term health effects in infants, often affecting their weight and development.
At Tastyganics, we recommend visiting your doctor for the best feeding plan if you test high for PFAS and want to avoid health problems for your baby.
Get Your Products from a Trusted Source
Chemical companies in the US are only starting to phase out toxic PFAS in their products. Therefore, it can be a challenge to know what is safe and what is not. That is where we come in.
At Tastyganics, we only offer items that have passed the strictest and most current health standards. Have a look at our selection and pave your way to healthier living!
- Jennifer Akiyama