What You Can Do
We all play several roles between our personal lives and professional careers. At every level of society, people can help reduce PFAS use and exposure.
The extent of American communities’ that have confirmed contamination with the highly toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of January 2021, 2,337 locations in 49 states are known to have PFAS contamination. (Environmental Work Group, 2021) Clearly, this is not an issue unique to Wisconsin; it is a global issue. So, what can you do?
First, become educated on the issue. Then, start reducing, or completely eliminate, the use of products containing these chemicals. A simple guide is to avoid anything labelled as perfluoro, polyfluoro or fluoro, which indicates they contain PFAS. Pay special attention to items that are tied to ingestion.
5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Exposure to PFAS
Ditch Non-stick Cookware. Stainless steel and cast iron cookware are great alternatives. If you cannot change out the cookware, then reduce the heat on the pan. Don't put non-stick cookware in an oven reaching over 400 degrees. Never us steel wool or scrapping cleaners on your non-stick pan.
Pop Your Own Corn. Microwave popcorn bags, including organic products, usually have PFAS containing coatings that are released into your popcorn when it cooks. Buy loose popping corn and pop on a stove or in a popcorn popper.
Eating Out? Bring your own metal or glass container to bring home your leftovers. You’ll avoid PFAS in take-out containers and reduce trash. Also limit foods like hamburgers, pastries, or french fries that come in grease-resistant packaging. Studies have detected PFAS in almost half of tested wrappers or pastry bags.
Personal Products: Read labels on all personal care products and search for the PFAS-free brands. Products of highest concern at the moment include, but are not limited to, dental floss, tooth paste, and cosmetics.
Drinking Water. You may not have a lot of control of the water coming out of your tap, but you can become more aware. Check if you well or municipal water is currently tested for PFAS. Advocate for clean water.
Note: This is not an exclusive list. PFAS have been used for decades as effective compounds resistant to heat, water, and oil. It is important to know where your exposure exists depending on the products you use in your life and around your home. Become aware, take action to remove known PFAS-containing products, and become an advocate for reducing human exposure to these chemicals.
One of the first steps any business can take to help reduce the risk of PFAS exposure is to become more aware and educated on the issue. Do your research if your business or manufacturing site uses or is impacted by PFAS.
Start asking questions and develop solutions to offer more PFAS-free products. Then be sure to communicate that with customers. As the public increases their awareness, they will be looking for information to confirm products are PFAS-free.
Be an advocate. Join the list of companies taking action for removing the use of PFAS. A recent study by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families found that more than 65,000 stores worldwide pledge to eliminate or reduce toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” in food packaging (March 30, 2021). Read more...
Resources for Businesses:
The BT Environmental Blog is managed by the attorneys in Barnes & Thornburg’s Environmental Law Department and has a series of articles on PFAS.
US EPA resources for the risk management for PFAS under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Leaders / Decision Makers
On July 29, 2020, a presentation was delivered to a group of industry leaders and elected officials titled, PFAS from a Solid Waste & Wastewater Industry Perspective. Three main points were made from the solid waste and wastewater management perspectives as it relates to being receivers of PFAS:
PFAS are a global issue affecting all aspects of product use: from source, to supply, to consumers, to disposal
Mitigation is expensive and will require thoughtful planning
Regulations are need to be well-founded in fact and science
Three things we ask from our leaders and public officials:
Become educated and aware of the issues related to PFAS
Take action for the protection of people & planet
Be an advocate
Site hosted by the WI Counties Solid Waste Management Association
Solid Waste / Recycling
Educate Yourself on the issues related to PFAS and waste and resource recovery industry. This website is for you! Use it to become aware of PFAS issues and how it effects the industry.
Join the Solid Waste PFAS Work Group. A group of industry professionals meet monthly on video call. This is the opportunity to share your experiences or get advice on PFAS management. Email SWANAWI@gmail.com and ask to be added to the Google Group to receive updates, share with others, and be notified of upcoming events and meetings.
Learn more about this group by visiting the ABOUT US section.
Do you have a suggestion or resource to add to this page? Email SWANAWI@gmail.com and it will be considered.