People make PFAS, which is a group of chemicals. PFAS have been used in many consumer goods and industrial processes since the 1950s. They can stand up to things like heat, oil, and water.
There are a lot of different kinds of PFAS. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS are the most common types (perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid).
What Products have Pfas?
Even though PFOA and PFOS are no longer used in commercial products, they can still be found in the environment and in some firefighting foams where they were used in the past. Also, other PFAS are often used instead of PFOA and PFOS to make products.
You can find these PFAS in everyday items like:
- Products for cleaning.
- Fabrics that don’t get wet, like rain jackets, umbrellas, and tent
- Paper that doesn’t get greasy.
- Stick-free cookware.
- Items like shampoo, dental floss, nail polish, and eye makeup are used to take care of yourself.
- Coatings that protect carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics from stains.
People are most likely to be exposed to PFAS through:
- drinking city water or water from a private well that has been tainted.
- Eating fish that has a lot of PFAS in it.
- Eating food that was grown or raised close to a place that made or used PFAS.
- Eating food that has been packed in PFAS-made materials.
- Getting sick from eating dirty soil or dust.
- Using things like ski wax, cookware that doesn’t stick, and sprays that keep stains and water from sticking to fabrics.
What rules and regulations are there to keep people safe from PFAS?
At the moment, there are no federal rules about PFAS. Some states, though, have made their own rules about PFAS in drinking water. Maximum contamination levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS in public drinking water have been set in Wisconsin.
Two-thirds of the people who live in Wisconsin get their drinking water from the ground. The state of Wisconsin makes rules to keep people safe from things that can be found in groundwater.
So far, the Department of Health Services (DHS) has set standards for 18 PFAS in groundwater. If the water has too much of one or more PFAS, it could be bad for your health.
ALSO SEE: Does Waterloo have Pfas?
How can I and my family stay safe from PFAS?
There is no easy way to completely avoid PFAS because they are so common in our environment. We can limit our contact with them, though, by taking a few simple steps.
- See if PFAS are in your drinking water
- Use a water source that has less PFAS than what the DHS recommends for groundwater standards.
- Water fruit or vegetable gardens with water that doesn’t have too much PFAS.
- Listen to what Wisconsin says about eating fish.
- Follow the rules for safe swimming.
- Clean your home often and try not to touch things that have PFAS in them.