Also known as “Forever Chemicals”
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFOA are dangerous because they are in the environment and do not break down. PFOA has been identified in bodies of water and in a variety of land and water animals.
These chemicals are commonly used in non-stick and stain-resistant consumer products, food packaging, fire-fighting foam, stain-resistant carpet, water-repellent clothes, paper and cardboard packaging, ski wax, and foams used to fight fires, and industrial processes.
According to Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water “Nearly all of us have small amounts of PFOA or chemicals like it in our blood because they are used in a number of consumer products, most people have been exposed to them.”
They can also get into the air, water, and soil as byproducts of the manufacturing process. Because these chemicals do not dissolve, they can be found in water or on the ground, and PFOA’s can travel many miles. PFOA’s chemicals have been found in our water supplies therefore, have contaminated our drinking water and water supplies in many communities.”
Now that the EPA is monitoring district water supplies around the country, we’re starting to see more how prevalent this chemical is in water, Walker says. Measurable amounts of PFOA have been found in drinking water in at least 29 states.