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Nearly 75 percent of water-resistant products found to have PFAS, study says

A new study found toxic "forever chemicals" in items our kids use every day.

TAMPA, Fla. — It might not be something you’ve ever considered. As a mom, I had not. Are the items my children and I use daily made with PFAS?

PFAS are toxic chemicals linked to numerous serious health issues like cancer and birth defects.

The Seattle-based group Toxic-Free Future decided to find out just how prevalent they are in products from outdoor apparel to bedding, tablecloths and napkins.

Toxic-Free Future took items marketed as stain or water-resistant or waterproof and had them tested by an independent scientific lab. The items were all sold by major retailers.

The study found that 72 percent of items marketed as stain-resistant or water-resistant contained PFAS. Items without stain or water resistance marketing appeared to be free of the chemicals.

Credit: Toxic-Free Future

Immediately, I went to check my childrens’ bedding and rain gear, but it wasn’t clear. Toxic-Free Future says it’s hard to know which products are made with PFAS because it’s rarely listed on product labels.

“Until we have laws that bans PFAS and retailers that are making sure the products they have don’t contain PFAS, then it’s up to the consumer to do some research and ask the brand if they’re using PFAS for stain and water resistance,” said Erika Schreder, the science director of Toxic-Free Future.

So what can you do? Schreder says, right now, it is buyer beware and offered the following steps:

  1. Don’t buy products listed as stain-resistant. She says you can get rid of stains in cleaning.
  2. Buy from companies that you know don’t use PFAS. There are affordable items out there.
  3. If you’re unsure, call the company and ask.

Toxic-Free Future also has step-by-step guides on how to make safer choices for your family here.

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