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PFAS: Forever toxic substances found in animal products

PFAS: Forever toxic substances found in animal products

The contamination generated by the human being is not something recently known, we even know of residues that have found a way to invade living organisms. Microplastics have been found in livestock animals and fish, leading to the presence of microplastics in animal products, meat, dairy, and seafood, among other threats. 

Threats like PFAS. New discoveries have found PFAS residues in animals, mainly fish, which is where the finding began. You are probably wondering right now, what are PFAS?

What are PFAS?

Like all human waste, PFAS started out as a utility object to make our lives easier. PFAS is how we know perfluoroalkyl substances. This substance has been used since the 50s, it is very resistant to degradation and high temperatures. It is used in the manufacture of Teflon, varnishes, and furniture. It's the gummy substance that’s inside microwave popcorn bags and other food wrappers.

The PFAS, an eternal threat

PFAS however have been shown to be a global and cumulative contaminant. Their threat lies in the fact that they are eternal, there is no way for them to be destroyed or reintegrated into the Earth and their exposure has reached places that were not expected, such as farms, livestock, in the fish from water supply systems and bodies of water, indoor air generated by carpeting or flooring containing the substance. They can be easily transported through the environment, which is why they have reached the most remote places, such as the Arctic.


How did they find them?

Recently, the New York Department of Health suggested that the reason Burmese refugees in Syracuse have high levels of PFAS in their blood is because they have eaten the local fish. However, this is not the first time that studies have been done on PFAS in the blood. It has been shown that local fishermen have higher levels of PFAS and that consuming one fish from the USA is practically the same as drinking PFAS contaminated water for a month.

How do PFAS harm us?

PFAS not only represent a danger to the stability of the environment, but also to the integrity and health of the human being. Studies have been carried out demonstrating the toxic effects of these substances in the human organism, highlighting problems such as: hepatotoxicity, developmental and behavioral toxicity, reproductive toxicity and immunotoxicity. They can also produce toxic effects on the lungs, and on the endocrine system by altering hormone levels.

Certain studies also indicate that they can cause an increase in cholesterol levels, and even increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Cautions should be taken in pregnant women, as they can affect the development of the fetus.

What should we avoid?

Although it seems like PFAS are everywhere, steps can be taken to decrease exposure:

  • Reduces fast food and take-out packaging,
  • Try to avoid bags of microwave popcorn, choose to make popcorn with corn kernels.
  • There are now PFAS filters for drinking water, consider one for your home
  • Avoid carpets or textiles that prevent stains, they usually contain these toxins
  • Always wash and disinfect your fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid consuming fish, meat and dairy products.

Is there any solution?

Currently, more quality controls are carried out and the manufacture of products with PFAS is regulated in order to prevent them from continuing to accumulate in the environment. However, the best we can do is take some preventive measures to avoid their contact. Stick with plant-based alternatives like ASANTÉ, and avoid the consequences of PFAS exposure.

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