How to Reduce Your Exposure to PFAS

For a PDF version of this factsheet, click here.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of chemicals that companies add to consumer products to make them nonstick, waterproof, and stain-resistant. They are found in carpets and upholstery, waterproof apparel, non-stick cookware, grease-proof food packaging, and even dental floss. They are also used in firefighting foams for putting out fuel fires.

Unfortunately, studies have linked these chemicals with a range of health problems including thyroid disease, cancer, high cholesterol, obesity, and effects on the immune system. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your everyday exposure to PFAS and create a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.

 

In your personal life:

  • Avoid stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, as well as stain-resistant treatments and waterproofing sprays.
  • Avoid products with the ingredient PTFE or other “fluoro” ingredients listed on the label.
  • Choose cookware made of cast iron, stainless steel, glass, or enamel instead of Teflon.
  • Filter your drinking water with an activated carbon or reverse osmosis filtration system.
  • Eat more fresh foods to avoid take-out containers and other food packaging.
  • Avoid microwave popcorn and greasy foods wrapped in paper.
  • Look for nylon or silk dental floss that is uncoated or coated in natural wax.

In your community:

  • Tell retailers and manufacturers you want products made without PFAS.
  • Urge your local water utility to test for PFAS.
  • Ask your state legislators to set up a statewide water and blood testing program.
  • Encourage your state to follow the lead of other states in creating more health protective drinking water limits.
  • Ask your elected officials to support restrictions on PFAS in consumer products and remediation of contaminated sites.
  • Find out about local groups working to protect water quality by visiting: https://www-pfas.pfas-exchange.org/connecting-communities/