Why Do We Care About PFAS?

Studies have shown a linkage between PFAS exposure and change in liver enzymes, cardiovascular effects (such as high blood pressure or pregnancy-induced hypertension), decreased antibody responses to vaccines, and developmental effects (such as small decreases in birth weight).

Image source: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/pfas/background.html

The EPA has also established PFAS as a possible carcinogen, as there is a link between PFAS exposure and increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney and testicular cancers. Peer-reviewed scientific studies also show that exposure to certain levels of PFAS may lead to increased cholesterol levels and interference with the body’s natural hormones.

Image source: https://intrinsik.com/perfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas-affect/

Some people are more likely to be exposed to PFAS than others because of their occupations or where they live. Regarding adults, people who live or recreate near PFAS-producing facilities, or industrial workers who are involved in making or processing PFAS or PFAS-containing materials may experience higher levels of exposure.

Pregnant and lactating women also face higher exposure to PFAS if it is present in their drinking water, as they tend to drink more water per pound of body weight than the average person. Children also drink more water, breathe more air, and eat more food than adults, which could increase their exposure to the chemical. Young children crawl on floors and put things in their mouths, which leads to a higher risk of exposure to PFAS in carpets, household dust, toys, and cleaning products. Outside of the potential effect on communities, Gunpowder Riverkeeper is also interested in identifying impacts on sensitive species that share the Gunpowder and Bush watersheds.

Source: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/our-current-understanding-human-health-and-environmental-risks-pfas

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