EWG’s Guide to Avoiding PFAS Chemicals [Visual]

PER- AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES, KNOWN AS PFAS CHEMICALS, constitute a multi-billion dollar family of chemicals that are widely used to make water-, grease- and stain-repellent coatings. They’re also used in a vast array of consumer goods and industrial applications. These chemicals are notoriously persistent in the environment and the human body, and some have been linked to serious health effects.

Because PFAS chemicals are so widely used and contaminate the environment in so many ways—including through product degradation and pollution discharges—scientists and regulators have had difficulty tracing the exact routes that PFAS chemicals may take as they find their way into human blood. Their presence in blood is a near-universal phenomenon in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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