Where are PFAS Chemicals Found?

Where are PFAS Chemicals Found?

Drinking Water

EWG’s Tap Water Database, based on tests by almost 5,000 utilities nationwide, shows that the drinking water supply of at least 16 million Americans in 33 states is contaminated with one or more nonstick chemicals. Many more people were not told that their drinking water contains harmful levels of PFAS, because the test information was not made public. From what EWG has been able learn about this secret data, we estimate that 110 million Americans’ drinking water is contaminated with PFAS.

If PFAS chemicals have been detected in your water, reverse osmosis and activated carbon filters may be effective for reducing or removing the contaminants.

Food Packaging

PFAS chemicals are widely used to coat paper and cardboard wrappers for fast food and bakery goods.

To avoid them, skip pre-cooked, packaged foods. Cut back on fast food and greasy carryout food and cook at home instead. Pop popcorn the old-fashioned way – on the stovetop. The inside of microwaveable popcorn bags is nearly always coated with PFAS chemicals. And check out EWG’s 2017 report showing that nearly all major brands use PFAS-treated wrappers.

Cosmetics

Dozens of personal care products, including dental floss, contain PFAS ingredients. Choose personal care products without “PTFE” or “fluoro” ingredients.

Use EWG’s Skin Deep® database and EWG’s Healthy Living app to find safer choices.

Cookware

The most prominent sources of PTFE, the chemical name for Teflon, are nonstick pans and utensils.

Avoid these products by choosing stainless steel and cast iron cookware instead.

Clothing

Textile products labeled Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster or Gore-Tex, and clothes labeled stain- or water-repellent, usually contain PFAS chemicals. Although many responsible clothing companies are seeking safer alternatives, few of these options have made it to market so far.

Home Goods

PFAS chemicals nearly always lurk in stain-resistant furniture and carpets, as well as in spray treatments for leather and fabric protection. Avoid the coated products when possible and skip optional stain-repellant treatments.

Use EWG’s Healthy Living: Home Guide for tips to find safer options.

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