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PFAs: What business owners should know

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Environmental Law

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are compounds that resist oil, water, grease and heat. Modern businesses use these chemicals in food-making equipment, cookware and food packaging.

They are also present in private drinking water wells and public drinking water systems. Household products like carpets, clothes and other fabrics may also contain PFAs. Additionally, they can be found in shampoo, cosmetics and dental floss.

While incredibly useful, PFAs have a dangerous impact on the environment. Also known as “forever chemicals,” these substances could take thousands of years to break down, leading to long-term air, water and soil contamination.

If these compounds find their way out of landfills and hazardous waste sites, their effects may cause harmful health issues. To protect themselves and others, business owners should understand how this substance may impact their workers, suppliers, and customers.

What are the potential health dangers of PFAS?

To this day, researchers are still studying the health effects of exposure to different PFAS. However, early research helped scientists discover that overexposure to the chemicals may cause:

  • High blood pressure in pregnant women
  • Compromised immune systems
  • Delayed development in children
  • Decreased fertility in women
  • Increased risk of cancer

The effects of PFAs on humans can depend on the level of exposure and the patient’s sensitivity to the substances. Specific health determinants, like quality of healthcare, can also be risk factors.

Understand how PFAs can put your business at risk

Irresponsible use of PFAs may risk your company’s operation and reputation. If a customer decides to take legal action against your business, you may lose the trust of your investors, partners and future clients.

Knowing the dangers associated with PFAS can help you take measures to protect your business and avoid legal repercussions. Understanding these risks can also help you continue operations while doing your part to protect the environment and your customers.