PFAS in Consumer Products

Problem: PFAS are everywhere

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a class of over 12,000 chemicals used to make products stain proof, water resistant, and stick proof. PFAS are in a wide array of consumer products, including food packaging, carpets, clothing, children’s products, pesticides, artificial turf, cleaners, waxes, building materials, paints, and personal care products.  PFAS are used in firefighters uniforms and firefighting foam.  Many industries use PFAS as part of their production processes.

All PFAS have a fluorine atom bonded to a chlorine. This is one of the strongest bonds in nature — and, as a result, PFAS chemicals are extraordinarily persistent. They never fully break down, remaining in the environment for hundreds of years. PFAS are bio-accumulative, which means as we continue to make and use PFAS, they continue to build up in our bodies and wildlife.

What are the health impacts?

PFAS can cause immunosuppression, reduced response to vaccines, liver disease, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and preeclampsia. Some have also been linked to endocrine disruption, neuro-developmental toxicity, and reproductive toxicity.  While workers and people who live in communities with highly contaminated water are at greatest risk, PFAS impact all of us.  Ninety eight percent of Americans tested have PFAS in their blood. PFAS have been found in fish, shellfish, and dairy cows.

How are we exposed?

People are exposed by drinking water that has been contaminated, eating contaminated food, and using products with PFAS. PFAS in products escape into air and dust, which we breathe in. When products are disposed in trash or compost, PFAS remain, entering soil, groundwater and drinking water.


Massachusetts needs to ban PFAS in most products.  We also need to clean up contamination, figure out how to safely dispose of PFAS, and support people and communities that have been most contaminated.   In January 2023, Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Kate Hogan introduced:

An Act to Protect Massachusetts public health from PFAS

This bill, now H4486

  • Bans PFAS in food packaging, children’s products, car seats, carpets, and rugs, fabric treatments, upholstered furniture, personal care products, cookware, and firefighters’ personal protective equipment;

  • Authorizes the Department of Public Health to restrict PFAS in additional products;

  • Requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to restrict industrial discharges of PFAS to surface and groundwater;

  • Sets up a fund to help communities test soil, groundwater and drinking water and provide remediation if high levels of PFAS are found;

  • Requires DEP to restrict land application of sludge

  • Requires testing of agricultural products to determine PFAS impact

  • Requires study of PFAS impacts on air.

We are pleased to support this bill!

What you can do:

Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow

c/o Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund
P.O. Box 83 554 Washington Street
Dorchester, MA 02124

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