What Are ‘Forever Chemicals’ and How Do They Cause Illness

The Environmental Protection Agency has suggested a new strategy to reduce the quantity of toxic “forever chemicals” permitted in the nation’s drinking water.

In the 1940s, the compounds were utilized in nonstick cookware, firefighting foam, food packaging, and various other commonplace items. The chemicals, known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds), have been linked to multiple severe health hazards, including malignancies, reproductive problems, and low birth weight.

The chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont concealed the dangers of PFAS from its own employees, local communities, and environmental agencies, according to a 2001 class-action lawsuit that disclosed the company’s knowledge of the substances.

Judith Fox, assistant administrator for water at the EPA, told the Associated Press, “The evidence is clear that long-term exposure to PFAS poses serious health hazards.”

Environmental Working Group reports that after decades of use and production, industries have resorted to no safer PFAS. According to the organization, people continue to be exposed to dangerous chemicals via sources other than water consumption, such as stain-resistant furniture and carpets, packaging for baked goods, and apparel branded as stain- or water-resistant.