All The Stuff in Your Home That Might Contain PFAS 'Forever Chemicals'
By Jeffrey Kluger | TIME | May 19, 2023
Read the full article by Jeffrey Kluger (TIME)
"If you put on a pair of soft contact lenses this morning you took a greater risk than you might realize. Soft lenses seem very eye-friendly; they’re smooth, comfortable, allow oxygen to reach the eye and, if they’re disposable, they don’t give bacteria any time to grow. What’s not to like? Well, one very important thing, actually.
According to tests commissioned by the consumer watchdog site Mamavation and the green group Environmental Health News, a random sampling of 18 popular brands of soft lenses sent to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified lab all tested positive for PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Also known as “forever chemicals”—because that’s pretty much how long they linger in the environment—these persistent manufacturing chemicals exist in more than 12,000 forms, and have been linked by the EPA to a long list of health effects, including decreased fertility, high blood pressure in pregnant people, increased risk of certain cancers, developmental delays and low birthweight in children, hormonal disruption, high cholesterol, reduced effectiveness of the immune system, and more.
Not any level of PFAS exposure will lead to these health consequences, of course. And even heavy exposure does not necessarily mean that you’re going to get sick; putting in your contact lenses every morning is not a sure road to cancer or high cholesterol. But enough of these ills have turned up in enough people exposed to PFAS that the EPA and the larger community of scientists are justifiably worried about them—especially because of their persistence in the environment."