PFOS

Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid

There are few contaminants that have been found around the world like Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS). Used in many popular consumer goods such as stain-resistant carpets, non-stick pans/utensils, cardboard boxes, and greaseproof packaging. PFOS has the potential to infiltrate the environment and become a serious threat to human and animal health.

PFOS

Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid

There are few contaminants that have been found around the world like Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS). Used in many popular consumer goods such as stain-resistant carpets, non-stick pans/utensils, cardboard boxes, and greaseproof packaging. PFOS has the potential to infiltrate the environment and become a serious threat to human and animal health.

What is Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS)?

These are a group of man-made chemicals used in a range of common household products. Its resistance to natural degradation and its ability to repel oil, grease, and water has led to its widespread use from cookware to firefighting foam.

Why Protect Yourself from PFOS?

The dangers of PFOS have not yet been ruled as definitive. There have been concerns that it is linked to increased cholesterol levels, decreased vaccine effectiveness, increased risk of thyroid disease, decreased fertility in women, lower infant birth weights and more ailments.

Danger lurks where you least expect it

Understanding the dangers

PFOS has been also used in the coating on nonstick cookware and food packaging, which can lead to POPs exposure. Exposure can occur through the release of these synthetic chemicals onto the food we eat. When PFOS are released into the environment (by spills or even through intended uses, such as fighting fires with PFOS-containing foams), they can enter our waterways, contaminating our potable water sources. These chemicals degrade very slowly, if at all, in the environment and may make their way back into our lives without our knowledge. As a result, they are widely distributed across all trophic levels and are found in soil, air, and groundwater. The toxicity, mobility, and bioaccumulation potential of PFOS result in potential adverse effects on the environment and human health.

How To Reduce Exposure

Watch out for the following:

Protecting yourself and your loved ones are simpler than you think! Watch out for these common items found at home that may contain PFOS.

PCB related issues

Due to the use of PCBs (for their fire resistant properties) the electrical and power generation industries are particularly susceptible or even influential with PCB related issues

Contaminated material

Exposure due to direct contact with PCB equipment and contaminated material

Firefighting foams

Due to the use of PFOS/PFAS in firefighting foams this industry is particularly susceptible or even influential with PFAS related contamination issues

Recreational

Recreational use of potentially contaminated areas (where fire-fighting foam was used – including fire-fighting practice areas) can expose children to contamination

Stain/Water Resistant Items

Continuous wearing of clothes or use of carpets treated with PFOS for stain and/or water resistant properties

Flame Resistant Uniforms

Continuous wearing of uniforms treated with flame retardants (HBCD in Flame Resistant Uniforms)

PCB related issues

Due to the use of PCBs (for their fire resistant properties) the electrical and power generation industries are particularly susceptible or even influential with PCB related issues

Firefighting foams

Due to the use of PFOS/PFAS in firefighting foams this industry is particularly susceptible or even influential with PFAS related contamination issues

Recreational

Recreational use of potentially contaminated areas (where fire-fighting foam was used – including fire-fighting practice areas) can expose children to contamination

Direct contact

Direct contact with treated products e.g. carpets, mattresses, upholstery, furniture, textiles, automotive applications and building and construction materials

Clothes

Continuous wearing of clothes treated with flame retardants (HBCD)

Direct contact with Electronics

Continuous direct contact (ingest, inhale, touch) with electrical products/material treated with BFRs e.g. computer monitors, televisions, cell phones and remote controls

Agriculture treatment

Farmers, farm workers and housekeepers can be exposed to pesticides in agriculture through the treatment of crops, plants and grain stores

Landfill disposal

Hazardous waste streams/products such as electronic wastes, pesticide containers and old vehicles should not be comingled with general waste for landfill disposal

Open Burning

Open burning of waste such as green waste, copper cables and plastics can lead to the generation of hazardous emissions including Unintentional POPs

Incineration of Medical waste

If medical waste is incinerated in conditions that do not constitute best available techniques or best environmental practices, there is potential for the release of PCDD and PCDF in relatively high concentrations

Burning of certain materials

Burning of certain materials such as cable wires, plastic and electronics can lead to the generation of unintentional POPs

Smoke

Inhaling the smoke caused by burning copper cables can be dangerous

Cookware and food packaging

PFOS exposure can also occur through releases from cookware and food packaging that are treated with these chemicals

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