‘Forever chemicals’: The hidden threat from the toxic PFAS on your shelf

PFAS are used in paints, food packaging and even cosmetics. We know they are in our water, air, soil and bodies – but less about how they will affect us.

Print Friendly and PDF

Sunlight can break plastic down into chemicals that dissolve in water

Researchers previously thought that sunlight would only ever break down plastics in the sea into microplastics – which then persist in the environment forever. But analysis of real-world bags produced by retailers showed that the effect of sunlight is often very different.


What's that smell? 'Funky but industrial' odor in Pittsburgh remains something of a mystery

Residents variously described the smell as similar to paint thinner or varnish, burning rubber, melting or burning plastic, and shoe polish.


Report: Dangerous levels of 'forever chemicals' found at Great Lakes area military sites

Six military bases in the U.S. Great Lakes region have "dangerously" high levels of toxic chemicals called PFAS, a report issued Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group warned.

Small farmers say they're paying the price for 3M pollution

Belgian farmers located in the vicinity of a 3M chemical plant are raising the alarm regarding the fallout from pollution at the Antwerp factory.


Opinion: If we stop burning fossil fuels, will we end up with more plastic and toxic chemicals?

Shifting away from using fossil fuels for energy is essential for our climate future, but if we aren't careful we may unintentionally encourage a shift that is also unsafe and unsustainable.

Photo by Izzy Gibson on Unsplash

Wisconsin hires California law firm to go after PFAS polluters

The DNR is monitoring more than 40 PFAS contamination sites across Wisconsin, including in Madison, where they have resulted in health advisories for fish.


Book excerpt: Our chemical world and chronic illness

This is an excerpt from the new book Silent Winter: Our Chemical World and Chronic Illness.

Keep reading... Show less

Chlorpyrifos will no longer be allowed on food crops

The agency will reverse a Trump-era decision to keep chlorpyrifos, one of the most common pesticides, in use. The ban is base upon science that links the pesticide to neurological damage in children.

Photo by Cameron Cox on Unsplash

‘Concerning’ levels of forever chemicals polluting Henderson

High levels of PFAS chemicals have contaminated a plastics recycling company in Henderson, Kentucky, spreading through the air and water and likely contaminating a creek that flows into the Ohio River, state officials say.

Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

At last, 1,4-Dioxane levels in Pittsboro’s water are non-detectable. Now what?

Town leaders announced that Pittsboro's drinking water is again devoid of 1,4-Dioxane more than a month after considerable levels of the carcinogenic chemical were discharged into the Haw River by a yet unknown Greensboro source.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What are PFAS chemicals, and why are they in makeup?

Researchers recently found that waterproof, sweatproof and long-wearing cosmetics — so popular at this time of year — contain higher levels of a potentially toxic class of thousands of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or (PFAS).


Cancer-causing chemicals spark recall of blood pressure drugs over contamination fears

A common blood pressure drug has been recalled over fears it has been contaminated with a substance that can increase cancer risks.


Editorial: Fracking in Pennsylvania used toxic ‘forever chemicals’ as Pa. officials maintain willful ignorance

The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board identified the use of PFAS in eight fracking wells. Only the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection can shed light on the full scope.


Chemicals from deodorant, sun block, other fragrant products amount to major air pollution, says NOAA study

Personal care products can generate half or more of the volatile organic compounds -- a primary ingredient in forming ground-level ozone -- in an urban area.
From our Newsroom

Alabama PFAS manufacturing plant creates the climate pollution of 125,000 cars

The manufacturing plant responsible for PFAS-coated fast food packaging pumps out loads of a banned ozone-depleting compound along with "forever chemicals."

LISTEN: EHN's Pittsburgh reporter featured on "We Can Be" podcast

"I believe that true, well-told stories have the power to change the world for good."

Weaponization of water in South Asia

Climate change and unbalanced regional political power are driving an ongoing water crisis in Bangladesh.

Global action on harmful PFAS chemicals is long overdue: Study

"We already know enough about the harm being caused by these very persistent substances to take action to stop all non-essential uses and to limit exposure from legacy contamination."

Ocean plastic pollution

Too much plastic is ending up in the ocean — and making its way back onto our dinner plates.

Pennsylvania vows to regulate PFAS in drinking water—again—but regulations are at least two years away

The chemicals, linked to health problems including cancer and thyroid disease, have contaminated drinking water in Pittsburgh communities like Coraopolis and McKeesport.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.