How to Reduce Your Exposure to PFAS, Part Two: Everyday Products

Graphic with sky and trees that explains PFAS

PFAS chemicals are common in our environment, and they can affect our health. Almost everyone’s been exposed to PFAS in our air, water, and soil, and from using products that have PFAS.

In part one of our PFAS blog series, we explained how PFAS contamination is affecting our lakes and streams. We told you to be aware that PFAS are in local fish, and to limit how much fish you eat.

Here in part two, we’ll look at the ways you may be exposed to PFAS household products every day, and how to reduce your exposure to them.

Many products we use every day have PFAS

  • Food packaging. PFAS are used to make sure grease doesn’t seep through food packages. Think fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers. Get the food out of the packaging as soon as you can. Don’t reheat the food in the packaging. Pop your own popcorn!
  • Stain resistant and water resistant coating. PFAS are used to help carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics resist staining, and to repel water from clothes, shoes, sports equipment, and luggage. If buying new, look for products without stain or water resistance.
  • Personal care products like shampoo, dental floss, and cosmetics. PFAS are used, depending on the product, to help them be more water resistant, spreadable, and durable. Avoid products with “fluoro,” “perfluoro, “ PTFE,” or “Teflon™” on the label. Check out the Environmental Working Group database for products that don’t have PFAS!
  • Nonstick cookware. PFAS are added to some nonstick cookware to keep food from sticking to it. Some nonstick cookware may be labeled as PFOA- or PFOS-free, but that doesn’t mean that they’re PFAS free! PFOA and PFOS are older, specific PFAS chemicals and they could have been substituted with another, newer PFAS chemical. Some non-stick ceramic cookware may also have PFAS chemicals. If you’re not sure, check with the manufacturer or with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Avoid or limit use of nonstick cookware. If that’s not possible, replace your cookware when the coating shows signs of wear. Stainless steel, uncoated aluminum or cast iron are good alternatives.

While some efforts are being made to remove PFAS from every day products, thousands of PFAS chemicals are in production across the U.S. And some PFAS chemicals are no longer made here, but are still made in other countries and can be imported here. If you can avoid or limit using any of the products above, you reduce your exposure to PFAS!

Check out our next blog post for more!

We hope you’re learning a lot about PFAS so far. Next up in our series, another everyday thing - drinking water. We’ll break down the complicated drinking water regulations, advisories, and standards, and explain how to know if there is PFAS in your drinking water and what to do about it! Subscribe to our blog now so you don’t miss it!

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

Was this page helpful to you?