Should I have my doctor test for PFAS?
If you’re concerned about the possible health effects from exposure to PFAS in the environment, you’re likely wondering if you should seek testing. This is a valid concern, however, testing levels of PFAS in the body likely doesn’t provide valuable insight. There are also few laboratories in the U.S. capable of testing for PFAS exposure.
Instead, your doctor may recommend liver, kidney, gut function analysis, or cholesterol testing to evaluate your health in a more effective way.
And, since there is not a treatment to remove PFAS from the body, testing your levels is likely to be less effective than working to reduce your environmental exposure.
Now is a great time to make an appointment with your CentreSpringMD provider to stay up-to-date with preventative screenings.
How to avoid PFAS
Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware
Avoid non-stick cookware, even if it says ‘PFOA-Free’. When heated at high temperatures, PFAS-containing cookware produces fumes that are potent enough to cause flu-like symptoms in sensitive people. PFOA-free labels may also just mean that PFOA was replaced by another type of PFAS compound, since there are thousands. Stainless steel and cast iron cookware are great alternatives. *Replacing cookware can be expensive and time-consuming. With this in mind, make changes as you can, and in the meantime, cook on a lower heat setting to reduce some of the transfer of PFAS.
Make popcorn from scratch
Microwave popcorn bags, even if labeled organic or non-GMO, usually have PFAS coatings on the inside that transfer onto the kernels when popped. Instead, homemade popcorn is easy! Buy loose popping corn, and pop it on the stove—preferably in a stainless steel pan—with your choice of seasonings.
Bring your own container for to-go food
If you’re really serious about avoiding PFAS and you typically eat out a lot, consider bringing your own glass or metal container to store your leftovers. To-go containers and fast food wrappers are made leak- and grease-resistant with PFAS compounds.
Look for non-flame retardant furniture and bedding
Household furniture, carpets, and mattresses are a common route of exposure to PFAS compounds, and other carcinogens like formaldehyde. These are used as flame-retardants, or to make fabric wrinkle- or static-resistant. Certifications to look for include:
- GOTS (material is grown without the use of harmful chemicals)
- OEKO-TEX (free from certain chemicals including formaldehyde)
- Made Safe (made without chemicals that are known or suspected to harm human health)
Steer clear of PTFE in product labels
Avoid products, including cosmetics, paints, products, and household items, that have PTFE or “perfluor” in the ingredient list.
Filter your drinking water
Until water treatment to remove PFAS is adopted by more states and local municipalities, you can remove PFAS chemicals from your home drinking water with a reverse osmosis or granular activated carbon (GAC) water filter.
What’s being done to remove ‘forever chemicals’ from the environment?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a federal “health advisory” level for PFAS in June of 2022. However, there is no official regulation for PFAS in drinking water, though some states have taken it upon themselves to proactively put measures into place to remove these chemicals from drinking water and the environment.
Your local water system should have reports detailing water quality and contaminants available to you so you can review the most recent water testing results. If you have a private water well, it’s also important to learn which tests are recommended to ensure your well water is safe to drink.
Protect your health from toxin exposure
It can seem daunting to try and avoid PFAS, as they’re everywhere, but there are some simple things you can do to limit your exposure. Filter your water, use stainless steel or cast iron cookware, and takeout less often. These measures may not completely eliminate your risk of exposure to these harmful compounds, but they will help reduce the number of toxins you ingest on a daily basis. By taking a few small steps, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of PFAS.
Work with a qualified, integrative provider today to evaluate environmental toxins, heavy metals, and other possible exposure that can often go undetected for years. Schedule an appointment today!