How To Avoid PFC Chemical Exposure at Home

Have you seen the newest issue of Garden Culture Magazine? There’s an article about PFC chemical toxins, namely PFOA and GenX, polluting the Cape Fear River that supplies some 250,000 people in North Carolina with drinking water. These unregulated chemicals cause cancer and a plethora of other health problems, but they’re flowing into the river nonetheless. Why? Because they make nonstick pans (and other miracles) possible.

Hmm… what else are they in? Well, lots of other things in your home or workplace. And there’s no way to remove it from the water – or you.

PFOA, PFOS, PTFE, C8, C6, GenX… the name of the PFC chemical used for making high performance nonstick and absorption resistant coatings matters little. Different scientists use different terms for the same things, according to the National Institute of Environmental and Health Services, and the safety of these products is beyond questionable. From what they’re learning, all PFCs carry the same health risks.

PFC chemicalI doubt that you want cancer, reproductive problems, kidney or liver damage, or immunity and weight issues from kitchenware and small appliances, or the host of other daily used products. It’s a lot healthier to use a little oil and scrub your pots and pans clean. These coatings emit toxic fumes at high temperatures, and the minute the cooking surface gets a scratch or gouge? Particles start becoming one with dinner… watch the scar grow wider over time.

Avoiding toxic cookware and bakeware is easy. Replace everything with stainless steel and cast iron. True stoneware baking pans are safe too. Yes, they cost more, but what’s your health worth? The newer “green” or “environmentally friendly” PTFE ceramic nonstick pans are supposedly far safer than PFOA. We’re still talking about chemicals, which are all safe and miraculous until millions are suffering. And when was the last time a nonstick pan remained in perfect condition for 10-20 years? Properly cared for cast iron cookware remains wonderful for generations! (Now, that’s bang for your buck 😉 )

Steer clear of baking paper forms and microwave popcorn bags too. Not only are these all coated with PFCs, but many metal and plastic food packages are too because it prevents reactions between the contents and it’s can or wrapper. Even fast food wrappers and boxes are coated with some form of PFC.

Your exposure to a PFC chemical at home spreads beyond the kitchen. In electronics, like your cell phone, and computer (and perhaps the TV and cable boxes), fluorinated polymers insulate the wires, cables, and internal circuits that allow high-speed data transfer. Since you’re not wearing them or eating off of them, high toxin transfer is less likely to occur.

PFC chemicalHowever, any clothing or carpeting with germ, water, oil, or stain resistance should give you pause, as the protected surfaces are only possible through one form of PFC chemical or another. Natural cotton, linen, and wool fabrics are suddenly so attractive. You may have to iron, but there’s no PFCs for your skin to absorb. And speaking of your skin – PFCs are found in many cosmetic products. Waterproof mascara? All day lip color, eyeshadow, blush, bronzer, and foundation? PFCs again. Easy glide dental floss? Better shop around, some of these are coated too.

Do Stainmaster and Scotchgard sound familiar? Both are a PFC chemical product – and probably all over your floors, furniture, and window treatments. You can even refresh that stain resistance with Scotchgard spray after the factory application wears off. And where did that stain protection go to? All over you, your family, and your pets. According to Environmental Watch Group, the EPA forced 3M to change the formula of Scotchgard in 2000, but the ‘safe’ replacement likely still morphs into PFOA upon break down. Be advised that outdoor fabric and rug protection sprays contain PFCs too.

Stainless steel cleaners designed for use in coastal areas where the salty air is a problem also contain a Teflon-like surface protector. And the waterproofing spray used on suede and leather footwear dry? You guessed it, just one more source of unregulated PFC chemical toxins.

They also use PFCs to enhance sterile conditions in equipment for making pharmaceuticals, and processing foods and beverages. Reach for glass bottled drinks and processed food products, because even if it’s ‘organic food’ every mouthful could contain a little more PFC chemical.

I’m sure you’re horrified at this point. I know I am, but unfortunately, it appears that this is just scratching the surface on the PFC toxins issue. Thanking your lucky stars that you’re not downstream from the DuPont Chemours plant in North Carolina? It’s not just the Cape Fear River area. EWG revealed in June that 15 million people are already known to have contaminated tap water across the U.S.

If you haven’t read that GenX: Unregulated Toxins On Tap article in our UK 18/US 16 editions, you should, because it gives you some perspective of how things unfold when your water tests positive for PFCs. And with thousands of products containing these chemicals flushing into sewers and being sent to landfills worldwide, it’s only a matter of time before these emerging toxins show up in water everywhere.

More Info & Sources:

Images courtesy of Your Best Digs, Black Iron Dude, Stupid Dope, and Adventure Gear Downloads (respectively).

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On a mission to get to the bottom of things, Agent Green digs far and wide in the pursuit of truth.