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Has anyone ever heard of PFAS, also called the "Forever Chemicals"?

I'm a professional environmental engineer. As always, AMA.

Boosts are appreciated!

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"PFAS", or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals with very stable chemical structure that allows them to be resistant to dang near everything. They just don't ever break down. Worse they are bio-accumulative, meaning that when you consume them in your food or water they tend to stay in your body and increase in concentration over time, and increase in concentration as they move up the food chain.

They have been linked harmful health effects in humans and animals.

PFAS chemicals were engineered to be hard to break down, and they are. They have no problems passing right through traditional water treatment plants and into the environment.

For many years, PFAS chemicals was used foam for fire fighters. So naturally, the currently known highest concentrations of the stuff tends to be around airports, military bases, and places where firefighters practice.

So, how scared should you be of the stuff? Well, no one really knows. It's literally everywhere. It's in your body right now. We know PFAS exposure can cause people to get sick, but we don't really have any good idea about dosage. How much is too much?

This makes creating and executing regulations very difficult. Right now there is a lot of scientific debate about just how conservative we need to make the regulations to account for the uncertainty.

Further still, this makes simple things like commercial property acquisition pretty risky. If you have PFAs contamination on a property you want to buy today, you don't know what the regulations will be in 10 years. No one does. You could accidentally be buying today a property that will have major environmental cleanup costs in 10 years.

You may not have caused the release yourself, but US environmental laws don't care. The current owner will be responsible for the cost.

@1dalm
That's scary. 😳 They're not in everyday stuff, are they?

@evelyn They used to be. Think non-stick frying pans.

Most have been banned from consumer products now. But you almost certainly have out in your blood now.

@evelyn Very honestly, no one knows how doomed you are. We can take a blood sample from you and quantify very precisely how much PFAs you have in your blood, but we can't really tell you yet if that's a problem or not.

Can I recommend switching to cast iron?

@1dalm
Oh, I don't cook much. But when I was little we had those pans and we were still using them even though they were already badly scratched. What can I say. Us mortals can be so #clueless sometimes. We know better now, of course.

@1dalm Yuuuuuup. Also work in the EE space marketing side.

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