Maybe you live in an area far from polluting industries, buy only organic food and have had your home screened for radon. But you’re probably still bringing dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into your home. These are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they stay in your body until death do you part. And death may come sooner, according to scientists who are worried about high concentrations of PFAS.

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PFAS are approximately 9,000 different compounds that make products resistant to heat, water and stains. Not only are they forever, they’re practically ubiquitous — in food packaging, cosmetics, floor waxes, carpeting, shoes. Dozens of industries use PFAS in everyday products. But they accumulate in humans and other animals, disrupting hormones, decreasing immunity and possibly contributing to birth defects, cancer, thyroid and liver disease.

Related: EWG warns ‘forever chemicals’ are contaminating US drinking water at levels far worse than expected

A new study by researchers at the Green Science Policy Institute and the University of Rhode Island was published on Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Researchers tested indoor air quality at 20 sites. Seventeen locations had PFAS. The airborne compounds likely break off of clothes, carpets and other products treated with PFAS. As we breathe them in, they start doing their nasty damage.

“It’s an underestimated and potentially important source of exposure to PFAS,” said Tom Bruton, a senior scientist at Green Science and one of the study’s authors, as reported by The Guardian.

According to the study, young children are the most at risk, especially from biotransformed perfluorinated alkyl acids [PFAA]. Unfortunately, some of the highest levels the study found were in kindergarten classrooms. All that time sitting on the floor on rugs makes it easy to inhale unwanted substances.

As the study put these concerning findings, “This research highlights inhalation of indoor air as an important exposure pathway and the need for further reduction of precursors to PFAA.”

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pixabay