Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of thousands of chemicals widely used in manufacturing and consumer products. They are often referred to as “forever” chemicals, because their strong carbon-fluoride bonds don’t break down in nature. PFOS and PFOA were phased out in 2010, but continue to pollute our environment. Moreover, we are detecting newer PFAS in our water, soil, fish, and wildlife.
The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), has found PFAS in bodies of water across Michigan. Over 2,000,000 Michigan residents live in areas with PFAS in their drinking water sources. Some major sites include:
These are only a few examples of the many contaminated sites across our state!
PFAS has been detected in human blood, semen, and breast milk. PFAS can cross the placenta, exposing unborn children. Studies of people exposed to high levels of PFAS have shown links to:
Recent studies have shown that PFAS can mimic human hormones including thyroid, estrogen and testosterone, resulting in low function. One study looking at young men exposed to high levels of PFAS over long periods of time found lower testosterone activity resulting in smaller genitalia and lower sperm counts.
In addition to drinking water, fish and wildlife, PFAS are in food packaging, non-stick cookware, polishes, waxes, paints, cosmetics, cleaning products and many other goods. Plant foods grown in contaminated soil can take up the short-chain PFAS. Young children exposed to stain-resistant carpeting and water repellant surfaces can absorb PFAS from hand-to-mouth contact. PFAS levels can be detected in almost every human being on our planet. It is virtually impossible to get rid of PFAS: