PFAS 101: What are PFAS and Why Is It Important?

PFAS 101: What Are PFAS And Why Is It Important?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, are synthetic chemicals widely used in manufacturing various consumer products. These chemicals are used in consumer goods such as food packaging, cleaning products, non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and stain-resistant fabrics. PFAS are commonly utilized in industrial production due to their heat, grease, and water-resistant properties.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) refer to thousands of types of chemicals. Historically, the most common PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid (PFOS), but neither of these are still used in industrial and commercial products.

PFAS molecules are linked to a chain of carbon and fluorine atoms. Due to the strength of the carbon-fluorine bond, these chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they are highly resistant to breaking down in the environment and within the human body.

Where Are PFAS Found?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are synthetic chemicals commonly used in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, and electronics. These chemicals are extremely slow to degrade, and over time, dangerous levels can build up in soil, water, animals, and humans.

PFAS can be found in drinking water, air, food, and various consumer products. Exposure is still being studied by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, it is already clear that PFAS has adverse health effects on humans, animals, and the environment.

What Are the Health Risks Of PFAS?

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is funding research to better understand the health effects of exposure to PFAS chemicals. Numerous serious health conditions have been linked to these substances, including:

  • Cancer
  • Birth Defects
  • Infertility
  • Diabetes
  • Cardio-Vascular Disease
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Liver & Kidney Disease

Products with PFAS Contamination

PFAS are found in nearly everything, from consumer goods like carpeting, mattress pads, cell phones, beauty products, furniture, clothing, and food wrappers to rivers, freshwater lakes, oceans, landfills, and disposal sites.

The exposure risk of PFAS in most products is low. However, over time, the chemicals can build up to dangerous levels.

Examples of PFAS

To minimize human exposure to PFAS, drinking water and products containing these chemicals should be tested.  According to the EPA, industrial workers making or processing products with PFAS are at much greater risk of exposure.

In addition, pregnant women and young children, over time, are also vulnerable to absorbing dangerous levels of PFAS.

Committed to Human Health & a Safe Environment

Alexander is a proud Alliance of Chemical Distribution (ACD) member committed to the well-being of our employees, communities, and the environment. We prioritize all individuals’ health, safety, and protection and are unwavering in our commitment to maintaining these standards.

As a member of the ACD (formerly NACD), we actively plan and operate our facilities responsibly. We also work closely with government officials to establish laws and regulations that protect our community, workplace, and environment.

“We are dedicated to continually enhancing performance, energy efficiency, and daily operations to ensure the safe handling and transportation of all our products” expressed Robert Davidson, CEO/President.