Since their introduction in the 1940s, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been integrated into our lives to the point that nearly every household has a product that contains a measurable amount of PFAS chemicals. In fact, the concentration is such that they can be found in our drinking water, soil, food and food packaging, personal care products, fire extinguishing foam, and a variety of manufacturing facilities. Most people experience a low level of exposure to PFAS, but there are some substances that can accumulate in the body over longer periods of time with repeated exposure. With that knowledge, it is only natural to wonder about the effects PFAS chemicals may have on our health and safety.
What are the current health concerns regarding PFAS?
Peer-reviewed studies have shown that PFAS chemicals can have effects on our:
- Reproductive health
- Developmental progress in children
- Immune system
- Cholesterol levels
- Risk of certain cancers
Does PFAS cause cancer?
While there is no established causal link between PFAS and cancer, individuals with higher levels of exposure seem to be at higher risk of kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer. There is still much research to be done on the subject, and it is difficult to narrow down the cause of certain cancers to an individual trigger or substance. Factors such as genetics, lifestyle, occupational hazards, and general health can also contribute to whether or not an individual develops cancer.
How do I get rid of PFAS in my body?
Complete elimination of PFAS, once in your body, may not be entirely feasible. Instead, the focus should be on prevention, reducing exposure, and promoting overall health. For the most part, the levels of PFAS present in most individuals is not a cause for concern, and should not have any adverse effects.
Here are some ways to prevent and limit exposure to PFAS chemicals:
- Avoid products known to contain or be treated with these chemicals. This includes certain types of non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, waterproofing treatments, and products made with PFAS-containing firefighting foams.
- Filter drinking water. Install and use a water filter certified to remove PFAS contaminants. Look for filters that specifically mention PFAS removal, such as activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance.
- Eat a balanced diet. Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients can support overall health and potentially help the body eliminate toxins. While there is no specific diet to remove PFAS, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a focus on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and adequate hydration can support your body’s natural detoxification processes.
- Consult a healthcare professional. If you have concerns about PFAS exposure or potential health effects, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or toxicologist. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and may recommend certain tests or treatments if necessary.
Stay informed. Keep up with the latest research and recommendations from reputable sources such as government agencies, scientific organizations, and health authorities. Stay informed about any developments in understanding PFAS health and safety, exposure and potential detoxification methods.