Scientists are increasing their research on the health effects of PFAS and PFOS chemicals used in a wide range of common products, NPR reported Monday.
The chemicals (formally called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), are found in products as diverse as water-resistant clothing, stain-resistant furniture, nonstick cookware, carpets and firefighting foam.
Despite their prevalence, scientists know relatively little about their health effects, according to the NPR report.
Nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily, scientists have found PFAS can remain in humans for years, as well as accumulating in the soil and water.
“We’re finding them contaminating many rivers, many lakes, many drinking water supplies,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. “And we’re finding them not only in the environment, but we’re finding them in people.”
“Essentially everyone has these compounds in our blood,” Birnbaum said.
ADC has recently covered that the contaminates have been detected in groundwater in and around a number of installations and defense communities.
Air Force photo by Breanne Humphreys