Article Forever Chemicals Are Everywhere. Here’s How to Limit Your Exposure. (Mar 2024)

Michael Harrop

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https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/how-to-limit-exposure-to-forever-chemicals/
  • Avoid nonstick cooking tools that contain PFAS. Most nonstick cookware today contains some form of PFAS. If you’d like to lower your overall exposure, cast-iron, stainless steel, and ceramic pots and pans are a better option. Avoid using nonstick cookware that has been kicking around for a decade or more.
  • Get a water filter, especially if you live in an area where PFAS contamination of tap water is known or expected. Look for one that’s NSF certified to filter out high levels of two types of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) from entering your body via the tap. Three of our recommendations meet that criteria: the Aquasana AQ-5200, the A.O. Smith AO-US-200, and the Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow.
  • Reduce how often you rely on certain kinds of food packaging. Grease-proof paper packaging in the US marketplace no longer contains PFAS, according to the FDA, but other disposable packaging may be a source of exposure. Limit your use of so-called compostable dinnerware and containers to those with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) logo (this certification prohibits added fluorinated chemicals). Consider cutting back on disposable plastic snack and sandwich bags, since there is some evidence that these may contain high levels of PFAS.
  • Avoid textiles that advertise their waterproof and stainproof qualities, but don’t claim to be PFAS free—whether it's wall-to-wall carpeting, upholstered furniture, down jackets, hiking boots, or underwear. You may decide you need some of these performance fabrics occasionally, so be strategic about how often you buy them. Though companies are rapidly seeking new ways to make goods moisture resistant, these items are still mostly made with PFAS.
  • Consider silicone period products. People who want to reduce potential exposure to PFAS when managing their period may consider using medical-grade silicone insertables, such as menstrual cups or discs, instead. You can read more about our guidance around PFAS exposure through menstrual and incontinence products here.
Vigilant consumption has a crucial side-benefit, too: Buying PFAS-free goods sends a message that this topic matters to you and can motivate the industry to develop new alternatives.
 
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