Where Do PFAS Come From? PFAS\u00a0(polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been called \u201cforever chemicals\u201d because they are virtually indestructible and remain in the environment (and in the human body) for long periods of time without breaking down.\nPFAS have been linked to a variety of human health issues, including various types of cancer (including kidney, testicular, and prostate), cardiovascular disease, obesity, a heightened risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, an increased risk of preeclampsia in pregnant people, liver damage, and reduced immune system effectiveness, among other conditions. A Brief History of PFAS Although they were first used in the 1930s to make non-stick and waterproof coatings, PFAS were not manufactured on a large scale until just before the 1950s. Beginning in 1947 with 3M mass-manufacturing PFAS, manufacturers began using various \u201cforever chemicals\u201d to make consumer, commercial, and industrial\u00a0products that were resistant to water, heat, stains, oil, and grease.\nIn 1951, DuPont began manufacturing Teflon with PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).\nThen, in 1953, Scotchgard, which repels oil and water, was invented by accident when someone at 3M spilled PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) on a scientist\u2019s shoe.\nAnd in the 1960s, AFFF, or firefighting foam, was born after being developed by 3M and the United States Navy using both PFOA and PFOS.\nPFOA and PFOS became the two most prominent PFAS in use, and they continue to be the most widely researched.\nHowever, they are now largely discontinued in the United States due to safety concerns.\nToday, Teflon contains no PFOA but still uses other PFAS that may not necessarily be any safer for humans.\nEven though PFOA and PFOS are no longer used to manufacture products, they persist in the environment and continue to affect human health, along with other PFAS. Sources of PFAS Many people who are\u00a0exposed to PFAS\u00a0today are exposed through contaminated drinking water, including municipal water sources and private water wells.\nPeople can also be exposed by eating food that was grown in contaminated soil near locations where PFAS are manufactured or used.\nPFAS can even be consumed indirectly by eating fish caught in contaminated water or by eating animals that were fed crops from contaminated land prior to slaughter.\nPeople who are pregnant can inadvertently pass PFAS to unborn babies in the womb or newborn babies\u00a0through breastmilk.\nSome of the major sources of contamination include landfills where products containing PFAS can be found, industrial sites where PFAS were either manufactured or used, wastewater treatment plants, fire training sites at airports and U.S. military bases, and fire response locations where firefighting foam was used, including areas affected by wildfires.\nPFAS continue to be released into the environment by textile and leather factories, locations that manufacture industrial plastics, molds, resins, and surfactants, wire manufacturers, paper manufacturers, and companies that perform metal plating & etching, among others.\nThese manufacturers may release PFAS through various means, including air emission and waste/wastewater disposal.\nReleasing PFAS into the environment can affect air quality, groundwater, soil, surface water, and runoff in the immediate area as well as surrounding areas.\nPFAS are commonly found in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, certain paints, varnishes, and sealants, cosmetic products (including makeup and nail polish), personal care products like shampoo and lotions, oil and grease-resistant paper contained in pizza boxes and other fast-food packaging, stain-resistant fabric and carpets, and in\u00a0firefighting gear.\nFirefighting foam, which also contains PFAS, has been used to squelch a fire\u2019s fuel source and prevent it from reacting with oxygen particles in the air.\nAlthough it is highly effective at suppressing fires, firefighting foam has recently become a source of major controversy, as many firefighters have alleged that they developed cancer after regular exposure to the PFAS found in the foam.\nIndeed, as noted by the\u00a0Centers for Disease Control\u00a0(CDC), cancer is one of the leading causes of death among firefighters. U.S. military firefighters and airport firefighters, in particular, have been exposed to firefighting foam for decades.\nSome firefighters who were diagnosed with cancer have brought\u00a0lawsuits against manufacturers of PFAS\u00a0for failing to warn the public about\u00a0the health risks associated with these chemicals.\nThe plaintiffs in these lawsuits have argued that\u00a0PFAS found in firefighting gear\u00a0and foam contributed to their cancer diagnosis.\nAlthough more research is needed to understand precisely how different\u00a0PFAS may contribute to cancer, peer-reviewed research has shown that significant exposure to PFAS has the potential to cause specific forms of cancer. Join the TruLaw PFAS Lawsuit If you are a firefighter and were exposed to high levels of PFAS through AFFF (foam) or your gear, fill in our\u00a0Case Evaluator\u00a0survey to find out if you are eligible to join our\u00a0Firefighting Foam and Turnout Gear Cancer\u00a0Lawsuit.\nThe attorneys of\u00a0TruLaw\u00a0want to help you seek compensation for the injuries resulting from exposure to these harmful \u201cforever chemicals\u201d.\nFill in the\u00a0Firefighter Gear Instant Case Evaluator\u00a0to get in touch with us today.