Shocking Health Danger In Home And Food
Since the 1950s a class of chemicals have been in wide use. But they never underwent an approval process. They weren’t tested for safety before they found their way into your clothing, your carpeting, your food, and now your water.
The bad news is that they have been tested since. And they are dangerous. You want to avoid them because they can wreak havoc with your health.
These chemicals have been consistently shown to cause cancer, high cholesterol, liver damage, hormone disruption, infertility, thyroid problems, and lowered immunity.
The class of chemicals is called perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). They are also known as perfluorochemicals, perfluoroalkyls, polyfluorinated compounds, and other similar-sounding names. Some of the specific chemicals to watch out for are called PTFE, PFOA, PFOS, and PFNA. If you see similar-looking chemicals listed in the ingredients of a product, find an alternative.
Where You Can Find PFCs
PFCs are used primarily to prevent oils from sticking to a surface. So they are used whenever industry wants to prevent stains or oil transferring through a package. The list of places where you can find PFCs is shocking. Here are some of the most common sources of exposure:
- microwave popcorn - Since microwave popcorn comes in paper bags, the manufacturers line the bags with PFCs. Unfortunately, heat greatly accelerates the transfer of PFCs from the bag to the popcorn. If you care about your health, steer clear of microwave popcorn.
- take-out food containers - In particular, pizza boxes and fast-food wrappers contain PFCs to prevent the oils from leaking through the packaging. Because the packaging is in close contact with the food, the PFCs end up on the food. Studies have found alarming levels of PFCs on food from the containers and wrappers.
- stain and water resistant fabrics and upholstery - Up until 2002 the most toxic of the PFCs was used in Scotchguard, which is a fabric treatment used on clothing and upholstery to prevent stains and to make them water repellent. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of Scotchguard replaced one PFC with another. So Scotchguard and any other similar products are toxic.
- Teflon - Teflon is a brand name for a type of PFC. Teflon is used famously in non-stick cooking products. It is also used in water-resistant apparel. Although Teflon is stable at low temperatures, at temperatures of 500 degrees F it produces toxic by-products that can kill some small animals and cause injury and sickness in humans.
- personal care products - some shampoos and even dental floss contain PFCs. Read the ingredients carefully.
- carpet - Most carpets are treated with PFCs to make them stain resistant.
- water - Because PFCs are used in so many applications, the water in many locations has become contaminated. Studies have found that people living in areas with higher concentrations of PFCs in the water have as much as 20 times the amount of PFC in their bodies compared with the average.
Reducing Your Exposure
The scary thing about PFCs is that they have a half-life in the human body of 4 to 8 years. What that means is that it takes up to 8 years for your body to be able to eliminate half of the PFCs it currently has. That means that it is easy to accumulate PFCs, but not so easy to get rid of them.
So the very best thing you can do is to avoid PFCs as much as possible. By avoiding them, you can reduce the accumulation and allow your body to naturally begin to get healthier. Here are some tips for how to reduce your exposure.
- Get rid of all non-stick cookware. Even if it is theoretically stable at low temperatures, reaching cookware surface temperatures of 500 degrees F is easy to do and quite common. That means that non-stick cookware dramatically increases your risk of exposure. Instead of using non-stick coated cookware, use natural, uncoated cookware. Cast iron is a good choice for a naturally low-stick surface. And otherwise, use stainless steel or glass cookware.
- Avoid microwave popcorn. Make stovetop popcorn instead.
- Minimize your intake of foods packaged or wrapped in oil-resistant packaging such as pizza boxes and fast food wrappers.
- Choose clothing, furniture, luggage, and other products that are not stain resistant. And don’t apply stain resistant treatments to your products.
- Check your personal care product ingredients, and select products that don’t contain PFCs. Look for ingredients using the terms “fluoro” or “perfluoro”, Teflon, PTFE, or names starting with “PF”.
- If in doubt about your drinking water, use a carbon filter. Studies have shown that a simple carbon filter can dramatically reduce PFC exposure from drinking water.
PFCs are a dangerous class of chemicals that accumulate in the body. They have been shown to cause cancer, infertility, liver damage, kidney damage, lowered immunity, and lowered testosterone. Your best bet is to avoid them as much as possible.