PFAS Chemicals an Increasingly Known Threat in Alabama, but There Is Good News

David Borasino

David Borasino

Tuesday, April 11, 2023
PFAS Chemicals an Increasingly Known Threat in Alabama, but There Is Good News

PFAS are a type of chemical commonly used in food packaging, some fabrics, non-stick surfaces including cookware, and other products. The chemicals last for a very long time in the environment; they basically don't break down. Researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found negative health effects associated with them, which are found basically everywhere, including your own bloodstream. These include certain types of cancer, increased cholesterol level, interference with the body's natural hormones, and developmental effects or delays in children. According to the CDC, roughly 98% of American's have PFAs in their blood stream. This does not mean that people should give up on trying to control the spread of the chemicals. Alabama recently got $52 million in federal funding to fight them.

One way to limit your potential exposure is through water filters, but only certain types of at-home or drinking-point filters work on this relatively new class of chemical. Experts say activated carbon filters are effective. And according to Brent Marshall, Altamont Director of Facilities, “We use them on all of our bottle filling stations throughout the school.”

The fact that Altamont uses good filters is great for us, but school is not the only place we might be getting exposed. Here and here are some steps to limit exposure to the chemicals.

PFAS will affect our generation because we were exposed to it as children. Since the side effects appear to be serious, even though many are not yet fully understood, it is better to be safe than sorry, or at least try to avoid PFAS chemicals as much as possible.

To share your thoughts on this or on anything you've seen in The Acta Diurna, to suggest story ideas, or to become a contributor, email MediaJournalismSpring2023@AltamontSchool.org.