(WHTM) – We’ve been reporting on PFAS, a long-lasting chemical that is linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
The chemicals have been detected in three-quarters of Pennsylvania streams and rivers.
But what kinds of things contain PFAS?
“I was a little surprised by the degree to which they were being used in water resistant material. I go out camping a lot and I like to think I’m a very savvy field person, but even a lot of like the tenting material that I’ve used, like when I do some investigation, I find, Oh yeah, this is full of PFAS so I’ve been, you know, sleeping among it every time I go camping,” said Harrisburg University Earth System Sciences Assistant Professor Michael Meyer.
We know its in fire fighting foam, food packaging, plastics, waterproof clothing, and nonstick pans.
“In cookware, it’s a little less surprising,” said Meyer.
According to Toxic-Free Future, it’s also in products such as Stain-Proofing for furniture and carpets, cleaners, building materials, cosmetics, personal care items like shampoo, dental floss, nail polish. The list goes on.
So, what can you do to limit your exposure?
“So, making sure that like household chemicals are kept in a specific location so you don’t have contamination…. Additionally, um, just doing some more investigation on what might be in some of your objects through your house that might have that,” said Meyer.
Vacuuming, dusting, and using an air purifier can also help.
“I would say to make people feel better, that regulation is coming. Our understanding of it is coming, testing is increasing, so we’re having a better idea about it. There’s not really a reason to panic or worry until we have a much broader idea of where the problems are. So, when we figure out those problems, then we can start to address them,” said Meyer.
In late September, the United States Environmental Protection Agency finalized its reporting and recordkeeping requirements for PFAS under the Toxic Substance Control Act.