Hazards of PFAS fact sheet
Learn more on a free webinar on September 6th at 12 pm ET.
What are PFAS?
Chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) constitute a class of over 3,000 fluorinated chemicals that persist in the environment for a very long time. The most studied chemicals in the class, PFOA and PFOS, have been associated with cancer, developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, and other health effects. The vast majority of other PFAS have little to no data demonstrating their safety and available studies indicate similar health concerns.
Why are they problematic?
PFAS are highly persistent, ubiquitous, and can migrate into food from packaging and food service ware. Upon disposal, PFAS can contaminate drinking water, compost, and agricultural crops. For more information about the human health and environmental hazards of PFAS, see the Cancer-Free Economy Network’s PFAS Hazards Factsheet.
Where are they found?
Manufacturers of disposable food packaging and food service ware often add PFAS to impart moisture, oil, and grease resistance. PFAS are also added to fabrics, carpets, furniture, clothing, and fire-fighting foams for their non-stick, lubricating, waterproof, stain-resistant, and oil and grease resistant properties.
How can I learn more?
The following resources give more information on PFAS and examples of alternatives:
Fact sheet: Purchasing Safer Compostable Food Service Ware
Table: Alternative Coatings
*Disclaimer: we have not confirmed that these coatings do not contain PFAS, nor have we confirmed that their alternative chemistries are safe.
The creation of these resources was an initiative of the Cancer-Free Economy Network, a growing collaboration of 50+ organizations working together in aligned, cross-sector projects to eliminate toxic chemicals associated with cancer and other chronic diseases.