"Understanding Forever Chemicals: Detoxing Your Body from PFAS & Beyond"
We live in a world increasingly filled with chemicals, from the food we eat to the items we use every day. With all the industrial chemicals in our environment, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand their effects on our health. One category of chemicals that has been getting a lot of attention recently are the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. These chemicals are found everywhere and can be difficult to avoid. That’s why understanding them and detoxing our bodies from them is so important. In this article, we’ll discuss what PFAS are, their potential health effects, and steps you can take to reduce your exposure and detox your body. So if you’re looking to become more informed about forever chemicals and how to protect yourself from them, then this is the article for you.
What are “Forever Chemicals” and what are PFAS?
Forever chemicals, also known as “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs) are synthetic compounds that don’t break down in the environment. These chemicals are designed to last for a long time and can be found in food packaging, non-stick cookware, furniture, carpets, and many other everyday items. One type of forever chemical is PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are man-made chemicals used to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. They can be found in things like cosmetics, cleaning products, mattresses, firefighting foam and much more. Unfortunately, these chemicals don’t break down easily in the environment or our bodies. That means they can accumulate over time and have potentially harmful effects on our health.
Potential Health Effects of PFAS
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made forever chemicals that have been used for decades in various industrial and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foam. Some PFAS are considered "forever chemicals" because they do not break down easily in the environment and can persist in the human body for many years.
Research has shown that exposure to PFAS can have adverse health effects, including developmental and reproductive toxicity, immune system dysfunction, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of PFAS exposure because their bodies are still developing and they consume more food and water relative to their body weight than adults.
Studies have found that PFAS exposure during pregnancy can lead to decreased birth weight, reduced head circumference, and impaired cognitive development in infants. Additionally, PFAS can be transferred to infants through breast milk, which can lead to further exposure and potential health effects.
Where Do you find Forever Chemicals?
PFAS and forever chemicals are used in many products and can be found in various places. Here are some of the most common places where PFAS and forever chemicals can be found:
Non-stick cookware: PFAS is commonly used to create non-stick surfaces on pots and pans.
Stain-resistant and waterproof fabrics: PFAS is often used in fabrics to make them stain-resistant and waterproof.
Food packaging: PFAS can be found in food packaging such as fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and pizza boxes.
Cleaning products: Some cleaning products contain PFAS as an ingredient, particularly those marketed as "stain-resistant" or "water-repellent."
Personal care products: PFAS can be found in some personal care products, including dental floss, waterproof mascara, and some shaving creams.
Water: PFAS can contaminate water sources near industrial facilities, airports, and military bases that use PFAS-containing firefighting foam.
Soil and dust: PFAS can accumulate in soil and dust near industrial sites, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants that release PFAS.
Air: PFAS can be released into the air during manufacturing and industrial processes, as well as from PFAS-containing products when they are used or disposed of.
Clothing: Yes, PFAS can be found in clothing, particularly in water-resistant and stain-resistant fabrics. PFAS is often used to create these properties in fabrics, such as in raincoats, athletic wear, and outdoor gear like tents and backpacks. PFAS can also be used to create wrinkle-free and flame-retardant properties in fabrics.
The use of PFAS in clothing has raised concerns about potential health effects, as the chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled as dust particles. In addition, PFAS can leach out of clothing during washing and enter the environment, contaminating water sources and soil.
To reduce exposure to PFAS in clothing, it is recommended to avoid clothing that is marketed as "stain-resistant," "water-repellent," or "wrinkle-free." Instead, opt for natural fibers such as cotton, wool, or linen, which do not require chemical treatments to achieve these properties.
It is important to note that these are not the only sources of PFAS and forever chemicals. They are widely used in many products and can be found in unexpected places.
How to Reduce Your Exposure to PFAS
Reducing exposure to PFAS and other forever chemicals can be challenging because they are widely used in many products and can be found in the environment. However, here are some steps you can take to minimize your exposure:
Avoid products that contain PFAS. Some common sources of PFAS include non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, and food packaging. When shopping for these types of products, look for labels that indicate they are PFAS-free.
Use a water filter. Some water filters are certified to remove PFAS from drinking water. Look for filters that are certified by NSF International to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for the reduction of PFAS.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce exposure to PFAS and other harmful chemicals.
Wash your hands frequently. PFAS can be found in dust and soil, and can accumulate on your hands. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can help reduce your exposure.
Dispose of products containing PFAS properly. When disposing of products that contain PFAS, follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper disposal. Do not throw them in the trash or down the drain.
Advocate for policy changes. Contact your local and national representatives and urge them to take action on regulating the use of PFAS and other harmful chemicals.
By taking these steps, you can help reduce your exposure to PFAS and other forever chemicals, and protect your health and the health of your family.
Testing for PFAS in Your Body
It’s important to be aware of the potential health effects of PFAS and to test for them in your body. The most common way to test for PFAS is through a blood or urine sample. You can get tested by your doctor or at specialized labs that offer testing for PFAS. Knowing how much PFAS is in your body is important because it will help you understand the steps you need to take to reduce your exposure and protect yourself from further damage.
Detoxing Your Body from PFAS
PFAS are a type of “forever chemical” that can be found in everyday products like non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, and even food packaging. They are incredibly persistent in the environment and can bioaccumulate in our bodies over time. This means that if we’re exposed to them regularly, they will accumulate in our bodies and potentially lead to health issues. In order to reduce our exposure to these chemicals and detox our bodies from them, it’s important to understand where they come from and how we can avoid them. First, try to limit your use of non-stick cookware as much as possible since this is one of the main sources of PFAS exposure. Additionally, make sure you’re aware of food packaging labels so you know whether or not your food has been packaged with PFAS-containing materials. Finally, you can try using natural cleaners instead of conventional ones as many conventional cleaners contain PFAS. By taking these simple steps, you’ll be able to reduce your exposure to these chemicals and help protect your health in the long run.
Natural Ways to Detox from PFAS
There is no guaranteed way to completely detox your body from forever chemicals and PFAS, as these chemicals can persist in the body for many years. However, there are some steps you can take to support your body's natural detoxification processes and minimize your exposure to these chemicals going forward:
Support liver function: The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying chemicals from the body. Eating a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and staying hydrated can help support liver function.
Increase fiber intake: Consuming fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help promote healthy bowel movements and remove toxins from the body.
Drink plenty of water: Drinking enough water helps flush toxins out of the body and can help prevent constipation.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps improve circulation and can stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing waste products from the body.
Use sauna: Heat exposure can promote sweating and help the body eliminate some toxins, including some PFAS.
Consider a dietary supplement: Some supplements, such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC), alpha-lipoic acid, or milk thistle, may support liver function and detoxification.
Reduce exposure to PFAS: As mentioned earlier, it is important to reduce exposure to PFAS and other harmful chemicals going forward to prevent further accumulation.
It is important to note that you should always consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Common Questions About PFAS and Detoxing
PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals used in everyday products like nonstick cookware, stain resistant coatings, fast food wrappers, flame retardants, and more. Unfortunately, PFAS have been linked to health issues like immune system suppression, cancer, endocrine disruption, and more. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to PFAS and detox your body from them. The first step is to identify which products contain PFAS so you can avoid them as much as possible. You should also limit the use of products with Teflon and other nonstick coatings as they contain PFOA (a type of PFAS). Additionally, try to eat organic food whenever possible since conventional foods may be contaminated with PFAS due to the widespread agricultural use of these chemicals. Finally, drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins from your body while eating a balanced diet supports healthy liver and kidney function which are important for detoxification.
Additional Research Citations on Forever Chemicals
Grandjean, P., & Landrigan, P. J. (2014). Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. The Lancet Neurology, 13(3), 330-338. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3
Gore, A. C., Chappell, V. A., Fenton, S. E., Flaws, J. A., Nadal, A., Prins, G. S., … Zoeller, R. T. (2015). EDC-2: The Endocrine Society's Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Endocrine Reviews, 36(6), E1-E150. https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2015-1010
Hu, X., Hu, C., & Xu, X. (2020). Maternal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and birth outcomes: a meta-analysis of 27 epidemiological studies. Environmental Pollution, 257, 113493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113493
Scheringer, M., Trier, X., Cousins, I. T., de Voogt, P., Jensen, A. A., van Bavel, B., … Wang, Z. (2021). Highly Fluorinated Chemicals: From Production to Products. Environmental Science & Technology, 55(6), 3295-3316. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07217
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). https://www.epa.gov/pfas
These resources provide information on the health effects of PFAS exposure in infants, as well as ways to reduce exposure.
Understanding the potential health effects of PFAS is the first step in protecting yourself and your family from their toxic effects. From testing for PFAS in your body to detoxing and reducing your exposure, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself. With the right knowledge and resources, you can detox your body and reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemicals.
This is one of the reasons we started Mercurii Baby, to provide toxic free Organic cotton Products for our most precious babies. Check out some of our top selling, and parent favorite products in our shop or below. We hope this blog post has empowered you!