Are PFAS Chemicals Harming Your Health? The Truth You Need to Know

You’ve lived in the same town your whole life, drank the water, cooked with it, bathed your kids in it – never a second thought. Then, one day, a notice arrives that your water is contaminated with something called PFAS. Or you’re a firefighter who trusts your gear. But years later, you find out the foam used to fight those fires contained a hidden danger PFAS.

PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down, not in the environment and not even in your body. 

But what does that actually mean for you? PFAS aren’t just a concern for the firefighters. They are present in many things we use every day. Scientists worry about what they might be doing to our health. 

Here’s what you need to know. Keep reading!

What Are PFAS? And Why Should You Worry?

The name “PFAS” sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. But it stands for a very real group of chemicals (thousands of them) with a sneaky superpower: they’re built to last. PFAS chemicals can repel water, grease, and stains, nothing seems to faze them.

These chemicals are used to make fluoropolymer coating. This coating can resist heat, oil, and water. That’s why you find them in everything from nonstick pans to waterproof hiking boots. They’re in Firefighter’s foam and the takeout container your lunch came in.

So, why worry? Well, the thing is, scientists are finding that because PFAS don’t break down easily, they build up in our bodies over time. This seems to be harming things like our immune systems and cholesterol levels. It also increases thyroid disease risk and lowers fertility in women. They’re still investigating the full picture, but let’s just say it’s not good news.

How Are You Exposed to PFAS? It’s Not Just Industrial Waste

You might picture factories and smokestacks when you think of chemical contamination. But with PFAS, the risks are way closer to home. A federal test covered one-third of water systems. Nearly 70 million Americans are exposed to PFAS chemicals. This accounts for at least 60% of the U.S. population. 

These forever chemicals could be present in your drinking water, food, and protective gear. They could even be on the comfy couch you’re sitting on.

If you’re worried about PFAS, your drinking water should be the first thing you think. While public water systems are regulated, PFAS contamination happens. It occurs especially near manufacturing sites or where firefighting foams pollute the groundwater. 

An estimated 16 million people have been exposed to drinking water taint with PFAS. This has led to massive lawsuits across the U.S.A. The primary defendants in this case are large chemical manufacturers and companies like 3M and DuePoint. 3M has reached a settlement of $10.3bn to resolve water pollution due to exposure to forever chemicals. 

Unfortunately, PFAS don’t just stay in the water. Fish and shellfish can have high levels if they come from contaminated sources. Even some produce could be affected if grown with tainted water. Yes, those convenient takeout containers and greasy food wrappers can have PFAS. They might end up in your food.

Sadly, some jobs pose an even higher risk. Firefighters, due to the AFFF foam they use, and workers in factories that make or use PFAS can face alarmingly high exposure levels. Aqueous Film Forming Foam is a firefighting foam that carries PFAS chemical. It mainly has perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and per-fluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), which has been linked to various health issues. 

For several years, firefighters using AFFF foam to extinguish fires are exposed to PFAS chemicals. It was recently discovered that prolonged use of AFFF can cause cancer and other chronic diseases. Many AFFF foam lawsuit cases have been filed against manufacturers. The suits accuse that the manufacturers knew the risks but stayed quiet for profit. 

While suffering cannot be undone. If you’ve suffered from PFAS, take legal action and fight for justice and compensation. As of March 6, 2024, a total of 7,170 AFFF lawsuits are pending consolidation, as per TorHoerman Law.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Okay, hearing about PFAS everywhere is stressful. You can’t control if your town’s water is contaminated or what chemicals were used to make your couch 10 years ago. But you can take steps to lower your exposure, starting now.

If you’re worried about your drinking water, get it tested. A home filter designed for PFAS removal can bring peace of mind. Yes, it takes extra effort, but it’s worth looking for PFAS-free alternatives. 


Is AFFF foam banned?

No, AFFF foam itself is not completely banned. However, many states have laws banning AFFF foams that contain PFAS. This is due to the foams’ environmental and health concerns.

What has replaced AFFF foam?

Fluorine-free foams (F3) have replaced AFFF foam for firefighting at military installations. These F3 foams are safer for the environment. They do not contain the harmful PFAS chemicals found in AFFF.

What cancers are caused by AFFF foam?

Research is ongoing. However, studies suggest a link between AFFF exposure and a higher risk for kidney, testicular, prostate, and liver cancer.

Is Class B foam toxic?

Yes, Class B foam is toxic. Some types contain PFOS and PFOA, which are linked to serious health problems, including cancer.

There’s a disturbing pattern in history. Think about lead paint and asbestos. Companies knew about the dangers associated but hid them for profit. People got sick, and eventually, they fought back. If you or a loved one have health problems that could be linked to PFAS exposure, talking to an attorney about your options is crucial.

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