Harmful chemicals may potentially be running in your blood stream: experts

More can be done in terms of halting production altogether, preventing them from human consumption, experts say

Web Desk
A stack of packaged food can be seen in this picture. — Unsplash/File
A stack of packaged food can be seen in this picture. — Unsplash/File

Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — a type of human-made harmful chemicals — have been flowing probably in human veins and can likely be found on furniture, daily food and water causing cancers, liver disease, asthma, allergies and other health complications.

This allowed US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a rule to strictly limit PFAS in drinking water, according to a report in Business Insider.

This chemical earned the name "forever chemicals" because it does not break down and remains in the bloodstream.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, EPA proposed new standards to mitigate harmful so-called "forever chemicals" in public drinking water.

According to EPA administrator Michael Regan, the proposed water levels can potentially avert thousands of deaths and related illnesses.

For the first time, the US environment agency has been proposing regulations on chemical levels.

A professor of reproductive environmental epidemiology at Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health, Carmen Messerlian told that as the chemicals find a way to get inside the human body, they stay there for a very long time, noting: "Just how long they stick around is straightforward to calculate using a rule of chemistry, called 'half-life'."

"In humans, the half-life is the amount of time it takes for your body to expel half the amount of a substance from your blood, by urinating or absorbing it into other tissues."

Studies have been able to calculate the average half-life of the substances, however, it may vary widely among individuals which tells for how much time does human bloodstream experiences PFAS as compared to other everyday substances such as caffeine.

Scientists believe that it is impossible to cut PFAS completely out of your life. In case you are able to do so, scientists say that only half of the number of chemicals would be expelled in four to 10 years' time.

Nevertheless, it does not imply that there is no hope.

Effectiveness of measures already taken

The manufacturers in the US gradually ceased the production of PFAS in the 2000s after attracting much criticism.,

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that levels of these harmful substances in American citizens' blood from 1999-2000 to 2017-2018 declined considerably. perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by 70% and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) by 85%.

David Andrews, a senior scientist studying PFAS at the watchdog organisation Environmental Working Group finds data promising that measures have been taken to prevent these substances from human consumption and release into the

On the contrary, these substances are still being manufactured and used in products throughout the world such as in food packaging, menstrual products, and dental floss among other things, that spreading the PFAS. there

Messerlian believes there is a lot to do in this regard in terms of halting its production altogether and preventing these chemicals from circulating in the human environment.