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‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Everywhere. What Are They Doing to Us?

The New York Times: PFAS lurk in so much of what we eat, drink and use. “Scientists are only beginning to understand how they’re impacting our health — and what to do about them…PFAS can be removed from tap water, but according to the E.P.A., tap water typically accounts for only about 20 percent of a person’s overall exposure to the chemicals; we also eat them, inhale them and rub them on our skin. Testing by government agencies and watchdog groups have found PFAS in carpets, furniture, nail polish, shampoo, mascara, nonstick cookware, dental floss, raincoats, fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, yoga pants, sneakers, sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, bedding, upholstery, children’s pajamas, paint, vinyl flooring and artificial turf. They’re in the protective equipment used by firefighters and medical personnel. They’re in an especially effective foam for putting out fuel-based flames. They’re in dust and the household cleaning products you might use to get rid of it. They are in flamingos in the Caribbean and plovers in South Korea. They are in alligators. They are in Antarctic snow. In Europe, they’ve been discovered in organic eggs; in the United States certain states have found them in produce and meat. Last year, a study of PFAS in freshwater fish in the United States revealed median levels so elevated that eating a single serving could be equivalent to drinking PFAS-contaminated water for a month. In June, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that it had tested private wells and public water supplies and found at least one PFAS in 45 percent of the nation’s tap water…”

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