Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are manmade chemicals not occurring naturally in the environment that are used for a variety of applications because they resist heat, water, and oil/grease (stains). Because of their chemical makeup, they are toxic at relatively low concentrations. PFAS, sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals,” persist in the environment and accumulate within the human body over time. They are found in every American household in products as diverse as nonstick cookware, furniture, clothes, dental floss, cosmetics, lubricants, paint, carpets, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, and fast food wrappers. They have been used by industries since the 1940s in firefighting foam, as a mist suppressant for metal-plating baths, and a means to provide grease and water resistance to materials (e.g., textiles, carpets, and paper). Other PFAS goods and materials are still produced and used in the United States. In short, PFAS are in the air we breathe, the products we use, the food we eat, and the water we drink. They are everywhere.
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