What is PFAS and Why Does it Matter?

PFAS chemicals

Over the last few years, you may have heard chatter on many media avenues about a group of chemicals called PFAS. Even though PFAS chemicals have been around since the 1940’s, they have only gotten the attention they deserve from the medical and science communities over the last 10 years or more.  So, what is PFAS and why should we care about them? PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance) incorporates a variety of carbon-based chemical compounds (C6 to C9) containing a highly toxic molecule called Fluorine.  Recently, these also include a group of fluorinated, silicone-based compounds as well. Manufacturers are claiming their products are made with C0 compounds (which is true) leading people to believe there is no fluorination involved (which is not true).

What are PFAS chemicals?

PFAS chemicals first came to public attention after being found in drinking water.  Now, we also know they exist in a plethora of other items including cookware, disposable food containers, camping/hiking gear, sports apparel, firefighting foam, biosolids (i.e., fertilizer from wastewater treatment plants) and a whole host of other items we use every day that repel water, oil, and grease.  PFAS chemicals enter our drinking water via seepage in to groundwater from contaminated manufacturing sites and/or rainwater run-off in to our lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. They further invade our lives via PFAS containing substances called “fluoropolymers”.  Fluoropolymers are used in formulating non-stick and repellant coatings.  They enter our bodies when leaching out of coatings into the food we eat, clothes we wear, and other items with which our skin comes in contact.

PFAS chemicals can also contribute to certain cancers, (i.e., prostate, testicular, and kidney), high cholesterol levels, and obesity.

So, what’s the big deal?  More and more research concerning PFAS, reveals these compounds can cause serious health issues.  PFAS compounds persist in our environment over long periods of time and can accumulate in our bodies over time.  We are exposed to PFAS compounds in varying levels and at all stages of life. According to the EPA, PFAS compounds particularly interfere with our hormones causing damage to the reproductive process through fertility issues, low birthweight in infants, accelerated puberty and various behavioral changes.  PFAS chemicals can also contribute to certain cancers, (i.e., prostate, testicular, and kidney), high cholesterol levels, and obesity.  (See the ATSRD website for more information on the toxicity of PFAS.)

We do our part to reduce the addition of PFAS chemicals to the environment by researching and developing viable treatment technologies to replace the current fluoropolymer technologies. It is a tall order that requires ingenuity and an ability to think outside the box.

DetraPel, Inc. is a leader in the PFAS-free surface treatment industry.  As such, we do our part to reduce the addition of PFAS chemicals to the environment by researching and developing viable treatment technologies to replace the current fluoropolymer technologies. It is a tall order that requires ingenuity and an ability to think outside the box, but one that is well worth the effort given the long term benefits to our health and environment. 

We partner with technologically advanced chemical manufacturing companies to develop proprietary PFAS-free copolymers, tweak existing technologies, and uniquely designing treatments that perform as good, if not better, than some current PFAS technologies. PFAS-free surface treatments are our mission. Our dream is to help eliminate any new additions of PFAS in to the environment through PFAS-free treatment development and partnering with other like-minded people in the industry to apply them. To learn more about our commitment to PFAS-free protective solutions, visit our consumer website, detrapel.com

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