Understanding How PFAS Affects Your Body in the Long Term

Have you ever thought about the long-term effects of chemicals in the products we use daily? Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), or forever chemicals, are a concerning example of the large group of over 15,000 chemicals used in different items; it includes pizza boxes, firefighting foams, and many other everyday products.

PFAS are alarmingly persistent chemicals that resist breaking down in the environment and our bodies. Their buildup over time poses a significant health risk. These include weakened immunity and hormone disruption. It also increases the risk of serious diseases like cancer.

Forever chemicals are complex, but they demand our attention. In this blog, we’ll explore the science behind these chemicals and explain why they pose a threat to our health.

The Indestructible Threat of PFAS Chemicals

PFAS chemicals consist of tiny chains with extremely strong bonds. Their backbone is formed by carbon atoms tightly bonded to fluorine atoms. This carbon-fluorine bond is exceptionally durable, making PFAS resistant to heat, water, and most other natural or man-made forces.

This explains why PFAS were so useful in products like nonstick pans or waterproof fabrics. But it’s the same that makes them a nightmare to get rid of.

Unlike many chemicals, PFAS persist in the environment, polluting waterways and soil.  In one study, a Norwegian firefighting training facility had a 96% concentration of PFAS and PFOS chemicals in the soil. These chemicals can enter our bodies through contaminated food and water. Because they resist breakdown, PFAS accumulate within us over time, posing potential health risks. This process of bioaccumulation is a primary reason for scientific concern.

How PFAS Throw Our Systems Off Balance

Understanding how “forever chemicals” (PFAS) disrupt cells and increase cancer risk is a critical area of research. While the science is still developing, the link between PFAS exposure and certain types of cancer is becoming increasingly concerning.

Scientists are investigating potential links between PFAS chemicals and various cancers, including kidney, testicular, and thyroid. Disturbingly, thyroid cancer cases in the United States have seen a concerning 3.6% annual increase between 1974 and 2013. Research suggests that exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), a type of PFAS, could significantly increase the risk of thyroid cancer diagnosis by up to 56%.

These chemicals, a key component of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF), find extensive use in military bases, airports, and firefighting training facilities. Due to AFFF’s widespread adoption by the Department of Defense in the 1970s, firefighters regularly working with it face a heightened risk of cancer from exposure to PFAS chemicals.

Today, many firefighter foam cancer lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers. Because they knew the danger but stayed quiet for their business interests. If you or your loved one are exposed to AFFF toxicity and develop cancer, you may be eligible to sue.  

Understanding the Lingering Effects of PFAS

PFAS poses a distinct threat compared to chemicals with immediate effects. Their impact is often subtle, with harmful consequences emerging over years or decades. This delayed response makes it difficult to fully understand the lifelong health risks associated with PFAS exposure.

Babies in the womb and growing children are highly vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxins like PFAS. Even small exposures might disrupt their development. Research from Örebro University and the University of Aberdeen reveals that PFAS can affect people as early as the fetal stage of development. 

This study involves 78 fetuses, where PFAS is found in the womb. These “forever chemicals” impacted fetal liver function, likely increasing their risk of metabolic diseases later in life.  

This “silent threat” aspect of PFAS adds a layer of unease. While action is being taken to reduce further PFAS contamination, the full extent of their impact may not be known for years to come.


Can You Remove PFAS From Your Body?

Unfortunately, there is no way to rapidly remove PFAS from your body. These chemicals are very stable and resistant to breakdown. They stay in your system for a long time. But, it is crucial to limit your exposure to PFAS contamination. This will lower your levels over time.

Does PFAS Stay in Your Body Forever?

No, PFAS chemicals do not stay in your body forever but break down very slowly. It takes approximately four years for the body’s PFAS level to be halved. This extended timeframe is why minimizing exposure is crucial in the first place.

How Do I Know If I Have PFAS in My Body?

The only way to know for sure if you have PFAS in your body is to get a blood test. These tests detect the levels of certain PFAS chemicals in your blood when the sample is taken.

Does Boiling Water Remove PFAS?

Absolutely not. Boiling water will not remove PFAS from your drinking water. This is due to their amazing resistance to breaking.  They withstand high temperatures, making boiling ineffective.

Taking Action: What You Can Do

Consider water filtration systems for your home. While not all filters remove PFAS equally, look for those specifically certified for PFAS removal. You can adopt options like granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. EPA researcher Thomas Speth says GAC is 100% effective against PFAS, depending upon certain things.  

Moreover, replace things like nonstick pans or waterproof gear, and look for PFAS-free alternatives. While doing so, check for terms like “PTFE” and “PFOA” in the ingredient lists of products like stain repellents or cosmetics.

Staying updated on reliable sources of information is crucial. Share what you’ve learned with friends and family. Join groups that push for stricter PFAS rules and help those affected by contamination. 

Many Government agencies have joined to remove PFAS chemicals from the environment and people’s lives. TorHoerman Law says the Pentagon has announced new firefighting foam for the military. 

Moreover, the National Defense Authorization Act requires the U.S.  Department of Defense to stop buying AFFF from the manufacturers. They must do this by October 2023 and stop using them by October 2024. New firefighting foam technologies will be considered to replace toxic foam. 

In the end, small actions matter. Remember, every bit of reduced exposure helps. By making mindful choices, supporting responsible regulation, and educating others. We can become part of the solution to the PFAS challenge.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button