Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, otherwise known as PFAS chemicals (or “forever chemicals”, per National Geographic) are man-made substances that may be found in:
- Non-stick cookware (specifically those with teflon)
- Certain food packaging
- Cleaning products intended for domestic use
Ultimately, all PFAS chemicals come from laboratories, production lines, and other locations where the man-made chemicals are created from scratch, as opposed to naturally-occurring sources.
Explaining PFAS Chemicals Further
Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances do not break down naturally in either the human body or the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While there may be industrial and practical benefits to these chemicals, their persistence in the body and natural environment creates reason for concern.
Some of the specific chemicals that fall under the PFAS umbrella, according to the EPA, include:
- perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS)
- perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
- perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
- perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
- perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
- perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)
Study of these chemicals reveals links to possible negative health outcomes. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), PFAS may cause or contribute to:
- Natural hormone production, which if interrupted could cause or contribute to cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Harm to your immune system, which if compromised can open you to a variety of diseases and other ailments
- High cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease
The ATSDR adds that rodents exposed to PFAS exhibited notable changes in the function of critical organs. There is cause for concern with respect to humans’ interaction with and consumption of PFAS, yet the EPA has not imposed any maximum contaminant level (MCL) for products that contain PFAS.
Products That May Contain Dangerous Forever Chemicals
The ATSDR essentially states that there are two broad ways to ingest or absorb PFAS, otherwise known as forever chemicals. They are:
- Using products made with substances which possibly or likely contain one or more PFAS
- Ingesting, inhaling, or absorbing organisms and substances that, unbeknownst to you, are contaminated with PFAS
Some of the household goods that may contain some level of PFAS include:
- Non-stick kitchenware
- Food wrappers and containers such as fast-food wrappers, candy wrappers, pizza boxes, and other forms of grease-resistant wrapping
- Certain chemical-containing cleaning products
- Water-resistant fabrics
- Stain-resistant chemical substances, which may be used on furniture or other surfaces
- Certain products intended for direct use on skin or within human orifices
Some of the entities that may be unintentionally exposed to, and contaminated with, forever chemicals may include:
- Drinking water
- Organisms that live in contaminated water sources, such as fish and shellfish
- Food, either processed in facilities where PFAS are used or packaged in wrapping that contains PFAS
- Soil, trees, and other in-ground substances that exist in an area contaminated with PFAS
It may be possible or even likely for humans to ingest these substances, intentionally or accidentally, and in doing so ingest toxic levels of forever chemicals. Exposure to these contaminated substances may depend on your geographic location, while many of the products that contain PFAS are used in varying amounts on a near-universal scale.
If you or a loved one suffered from cancer or another health condition, it is possible that you lived in an area with water or other substances contaminated by PFAS. Military bases are linked to PFAS-contaminated drinking water, according to the ATSDR.
If you have more questions about where PFAS chemicals come from, and whether you may have grounds for a lawsuit based on PFAS chemical exposure, a lawyer may be able to assist you.
Taking Legal Action for Possible PFAS Chemical Exposure
Recent publicity over PFAS is contributing to awareness of the chemicals’ presence and danger to communities and individuals who use products containing them. Perhaps as a result of this publicity, lawsuits arose and gained momentum against companies such as:
If you suspect or believe that you or your loved one experienced negative health consequences possibly caused by PFAS exposure, then a lawyer may:
- Explain your options for legal action
- Help you start or join a lawsuit
- Represent you in settlement negotiations or at trial
- Seek compensation on your behalf
You may be able to collect compensation for your healthcare costs, lost income, and other losses if you obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm May Be Able to Help You
We do not shy away from tough cases, and we want to ensure that you are protected from any more harm than you already suffered. Call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 788-4155 for a free consultation. Our clients pay nothing up front or out of pocket, so call us today to learn how we may be able to assist you.