Potential Health Effects of PFAS Chemicals from Research
PFAS (aka PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS) are added to many products we purchase to make them “stain-resistant,” “grease-proof,” and “water-resistant.” When it comes to athletic wear, if you find them, they are likely there for water resistance and to wick away sweat. Sounds like a great idea until you realize how many problematic health and environmental impacts they have.
Here is the list of health problems (PFAS) perfluorinated chemicals are linked with:
- Reduction in immunity
- Metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- Reduced vaccination response
- Cardiovascular disease
- Affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- Increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- Lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- Increase the chances of miscarriage
- Increase cholesterol levels
- Low sperm count
- Smaller penis size
- Increase the risk of cancer like testicular & kidney cancers
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to PFAS, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of Community Health Investigations has created this fact sheet to use when talking to your doctor.
9,000+ PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Impossible to Test For Directly
Because there are over 9,000 of these PFAS “forever chemicals” and testing is only available for about a couple dozen, it’s impossible to test for them all directly. This was a real big problem for the composting industry when ascertaining whether food packaging was safe to be certified as “compostable” for the gardens of consumers. So they devised a plan to test instead for fluorine, which is the chemical all PFAS chemicals have in common. Testing for fluorine and finding it at certain levels can indicate whether PFAS was “intentionally added” or not and how much is inside.
Mamavation did this type of testing the other day when we tested the top period underwear products for PFAS and found 65% of them contained fluorine, meaning the period underwear industry has a big PFAS problem as well.
Because testing for fluorine is the only standard that is out there, we’ve adapted this to fabrics and are using it for our investigation on fibers & fabrics.
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