Avoiding PFAS: What products contain PFAS?


Avoiding PFAS What products contain PFAS

Do you want to know which products contain PFAS?

If so, we have compiled a list of many household and name brand products that may contain PFAS compounds. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. We hope this helps you avoid these harmful chemicals in your household!

PFAS – Why Should I Be Concerned?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in products like nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and paints. These compounds are also very persistent in the environment and do not break down over time like other pollutants. This is why they are frequently referred to as forever chemicals.

The problem with PFAS is they are mobile – meaning they can move in water or in the air when the wind blows. Eventually, they can end up in drinking water sources where people ingest them. Not only that, but these chemicals build up to dangerous levels in humans over time.

PFAS molecules were originally thought to be harmless, but recent studies have shown that they cause many health problems including:

  • Various cancers including kidney, liver, pancreatic, and testicular
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Weakened childhood immunity
  • Low birth weight
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Weight gain in children and dieting adults

Learn more about PFAS in my comprehensive article.

What Products Contain PFAS

PFAS chemicals have been used since the 1950s to make everything from non-stick cookware to water repellent and stain resistant fabrics. As a result, they are in many household products such as cosmetics, personal care products, and cleaning products. Many name brand products contain PFAS.

Household products with PFAS in them

Here are some of the most common products where PFAS can be found:

  • cosmetics (read my article on PFAS in cosmetics)
  • personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap
  • cleaning supplies like dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent
  • food packaging like microwave popcorn bags or pizza boxes
  • non-stick cookware such as Teflon pans
  • water repellent fabrics for outdoor gear such as tents or camping equipment
Grease and water resistant food packaging often contains PFAS.

 

You can find more examples here.

These are just some of the many products that expose us to PFAS chemicals. These everyday consumer goods are a potential pathway where toxic chemicals can enter our bodies through normal use.

It is important to read labels carefully when shopping for household items and avoid buying anything with “PFOA” or “PFOS” on the label. These are two of the most common PFAS chemicals.

Cleaning products that contain PFAS

PFAS compounds have been added to laundry detergent to improve their effectiveness. Tide was in the news in 2013 when PFAS was detected in their detergent. Fortunately, Proctor & Gamble agreed to remove this contaminant from Tide.

Some stain removers include products that are made from PFAS compounds. Not all of them list these chemicals on their ingredient lists.

Many floor waxes and furniture polishes contain PFAS compounds. Especially problematic are spray products which create aerosols that spread the contaminant throughout your house.

Water proofing and stain resistant sprays for shoes and outdoor gear frequently contain PFAS compounds. It is generally best to avoid these product types as they tend to contain PFAS.

The best way to avoid these chemicals is by using natural cleaning products that do not contain PFAS. Many natural products are made from ingredients that are free of these compounds.

Name Brands Known to Contain PFAS

Brands that are known to have PFAS in some of their products include the following.

Outdoor gear and jackets

  • North Face
  • Patagonia
  • Adidas
  • Columbia
  • Jack Wolfskin

Shoes

  • Nike
  • Puma
  • Adidas

Swimwear

  • Disney
  • Burberry

Are PFAS in Drinking Water

The U.S is facing an epidemic of water contamination, and the problem may be much worse than we know. A significant amount of testing has been conducted on drinking water. Up to 110 million Americans could have PFAS-contaminated drinking water.

PFAS are found in hundreds of public water systems across the country. They have even been detected in rainfall and snowfall samples, meaning they can travel far from their source and contaminate sources of drinking water elsewhere.

One study tested over 3600 drinking water samples for contamination by PFOS (one type of PFAS). The results showed that PFAS contamination is widespread in drinking water.

The EPA has reported that many of the nation’s largest military bases are contaminated with PFAS chemicals at levels exceeding federal guidelines for safety.

Numerous other studies have found these contaminants in public and private wells, surface water supplies, groundwater used to supply household taps and even municipal tap water systems.

How to Avoid PFAS Compounds

PFAS seems to be in everything. You can’t completely avoid these chemicals because they are in many common products. The key is to make an effort to buy things that do not contain PFAS and read labels carefully before purchasing.

There are several ways you can reduce your exposure:

  • Buy natural cleaning supplies – look for the word “natural” on the label
  • Instead of using PFAS-treated microwave bags, make popcorn on the stovetop.
  • It’s critical not to consume or reheat food that has been wrapped in grease-resistant packaging.
  • Get rid of non-stick cookware and replace with cast-iron, glass, ceramic, or stainless steel pots and pans.
  • Avoid stain-resistant clothing – choose natural fabrics instead.
  • Don’t buy clothing made with water repellent fabric.
  • Avoid stain-resistant furniture.

Unfortunately, you can’t completely avoid PFAS entirely. But you can reduce your exposure by making efforts to buy natural products and read labels carefully before purchasing.

FAQs

Why are PFAS compounds in so many products?

PFAS molecules have a carbon-fluorine bond that is extremely strong. This bond makes these compounds very stable and able to withstand high temperatures. This makes PFAS compounds ideal for making products repel water, resist stains, and function as lubricants.

Are there any labelling requirements for PFAS?

Several states have rules and regulations that require manufacturers to list PFAS on product labels. In 2017, California listed PFOS and PFOA as potential developmental toxicants under Proposition 65.

How do I know if a product contains PFAS?

Often, PFAS chemicals are listed on the list of ingredients. Look for chemicals with “fluoro” in the name – perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl are commonly seen.

Final Take on PFAS in Products

PFAS compounds have been widely used since the 1950s. They are in the fabric of many common products. The key is to make an effort to buy things that don’t contain PFAS and read labels carefully before purchasing. Unfortunately, you can’t completely avoid them entirely but you can reduce your exposure by buying natural products and reading labels carefully before purchasing.

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