PFAS – The Deadly Chemicals You’ve Never Heard Of

PFAS (per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl) chemicals are synthetic substances that were widely used in consumer products from the 1950s to the present day. Prized for their durability and resistance to water, oil, grease and stains, PFASs were used in many everyday goods – from non-stick cookware and food packaging to fire extinguisher foam.

Use of PFAS products is now largely banned in Australia and many other countries due to concerns over their environmental impact and possible risks to human health, but decades of widespread use means that PFAS treatment is an ongoing challenge.

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How can I be exposed to PFAS?

 

Exposure to PFAS chemicals is considered unavoidable in daily life, as these substances take a long time to decay and small amounts may be present in the air, dust, food and water supplies.

You may be at increased risk of exposure if:

  • Your water supply is contaminated.
  • You eat fish from contaminated water sources.
  • Your food is packaged in PFAS-containing materials.
  • You use other consumer products that contain PFAS (such as floor waxes or sealants, stain-resistant fabric coatings, or certain cosmetics, paints or varnishes).
  • You work with or around PFAS materials.

 

What are the possible health risks of PFAS exposure?

 

Research is ongoing into the possible health impact of exposure to PFAS chemicals for humans, but findings are limited and currently inconclusive, especially at normal levels of exposure.

However, it is thought that possible effects of high exposure to certain PFAS substances may include:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Changes to liver enzymes
  • Increased risk of developing kidney or testicular cancer
  • Impaired vaccine response for children
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and reduced birth weight for pregnant women

How can I avoid PFAS exposure?

 

Due to their widespread presence in the environment, it is not possible to entirely avoid exposure to PFAS substances in daily life, but there are ways you can limit your exposure. This includes:

  • Not drinking from groundwater or surface water supplies or using them for cooking, especially if contamination is known
  • Not using contaminated water for other uses where there may be a risk of swallowing
  • Not consuming fish from contaminated water sources or produce that may have been produced using contaminated water
  • Avoiding consumer products that may contain PFAS or use it in their packaging

How can PFAS be removed?

 

With PFAS chemicals being so resilient, the only proven method of eradicating these substances from our surroundings is using thermal technologies.


 

Synergen Met Limited (ASX:SH2)

Synergen Met Limited (ASX:SYN) is a thermal plasma technology specialist in Australia that uses proprietary applications to provide effective PFAS water treatment and other sustainable solutions to contemporary environmental challenges.

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Founded in 2008, the Australian-owned and operated business is made up of a team of scientific minds with more than 80 years of collective experience working within the global resources industry. Through their technology applications, they are committed to the continuous betterment of the global environment to support future generations.

Synergen is currently raising capital through an ASX Initial Public Offering (IPO). For information on how to invest click here.

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