As reported through a Harvard study, 16.5 million Americans have detectable levels of at least one kind of polyfluoroalkyl or perfluoroaklyl chemicals (PFASs) in their drinking water. These chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems from obesity and hormonal problems, to impaired immune function and cancer. The PFASs may contribute to illness even below the EPA’s safety level.
These PFASs are used in many industrial applications calling for non-stick or slick surfaces, such as food packaging, stain and water resistant fabrics, non-stick cookware and firefighting foam. These were reported by CNN. The result of their ubiquity is that the chemicals migrate into air, household dust, food, soil and ground, and surface water. They may eventually make their way into the drinking water. One big factor is that PFASs remain in your body for a long time, unlike other chemicals that can be excreted within hours. It takes about 3.5 years for your body to get rid of just half of whatever amount you might have ingested. That is scary!
Perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, is one PFAS that has been revealed to be far more dangerous than previously thought. DuPont used this PFOA to make Teflon. DuPont, still to this day, resists accountability for health problems resulting from PFOA exposure, but the truth has finally become too obvious to ignore. A 3-part expose, titled The Teflon Toxin: DuPont and the Chemistry of Deception, was published last year. Then earlier this year the New York Times also published an in-depth expose on the legal battle fought against DuPont for the past 15 years over PFOA contamination and its toxic effects. A 2015 report by the Environmental Working Group reveals the EPA’s safe level of PFOA in drinking water is likely hundreds, maybe even thousands, of times too high for safety.
About 3,500 personal injury claims are filed against DuPont over the PFOA subject. A woman developing kidney cancer after drinking PFOA-contaminated water was awarded $16 million in damages. Internal documents have been uncovered, showing DuPont was fully aware of the chemical’s danger to the public, and yet continues using it while hiding contamination problems. The EPA announced in 2002 that PFOAs might post a health risk to the public through contaminated water and Teflon cookware. Then in 2005, EPA fined DuPont $16.5 million for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act.
After seven years of research, it was determined that some of PFOA’s effects on human health were: Ulcerative colitis, High cholesterol, Pregnancy-induced hypertension, Thyroid disease and Testicular and kidney cancer. Hundreds of scientists have issued warnings over PFASs. More than 200 scientists from 40 countries signed the Madrid Statement in 2015, warning about the harms of PFAS chemicals. These included: liver toxicity, adverse neurobehavioral effects, tumors in multiple organ systems, liver malfunction, high cholesterol, reduced birth weight and size, decreased immune response to vaccines, disruption of lipid metabolism and the immune endocrine system, neonatal toxicity and death, testicular and kidney cancers, hypothyroidism, ulcerative colitis, obesity and reduced hormone levels and delayed puberty.
Suggestions of how to avoid these chemicals are avoid items that have been pre-treated with stain repellants, water and/or stain repellant clothing, items treated with flame retardant chemicals, fast food and carry out food wrappers, microwave popcorn and non-stick cookware.
We, individually, are the only ones that can take control over the products we use in an effort to better direct ourselves to healthier living.
–Dr Fredda Branyon