PFAS have been getting a lot of scrutiny lately and it's hard to avoid the terrifying headlines linking PFAS to all types of horrific maladies. So what exactly does PFAS mean, and should you be concerned?
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. It's the umbrella term for a large group of man-made chemicals used to give finishes to products, such as water resistance. Think Teflon and Scotchguard. They're found in adhesives, household items, food packaging, and clothing. They leach into our soil, air and water, and don't break down in the environment, hence they're also known as "forever chemicals".
HOW CAN I AVOID PFAS?
There are so many types of PFAS chemicals found in all sorts of items and places, so it's hard to understand exactly their impact on our health. 97% of people tested in the U.S. were found to have PFAS in their blood serum. It's not clear what side effect a very small amount of exposure might have, but excessive amounts have been linked to numerous conditions, such as metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, impacts on the growth and development of children, and an increase in asthma and allergies, fertility issues, and risk of certain cancers. They can wreak absolute havoc with your hormones. Not cool.
PFAS AND YOUR PERIOD
A recent consumer study by Mamavation found that 65% of period underwear tested contained fluorine, which is indicative of PFAS. 22% of tampon brands tested were found to contain PFAS, including two brands that claimed to be organic tampons. Approximately half of the sanitary pads, panty liners and incontinence pads they tested had indications of PFAS, again including several brands that advertised themselves as organic and natural.
HOW CAN I AVOID PFAS?
PFAS unfortunately are everywhere, and as they are forever chemicals, they're here to stay. While we don't want to incite panic, there are simple steps you can take to minimize your exposure:
- Be an informed consumer: whenever you're able, buy products that are given an eco-label and/or directly say they are free of PFAS chemicals.
- Become consumer savvy: with the rise of e-commerce, we are given more information about the products we purchase than ever before. Spend a few minutes digging deeper before your make a purchase and try to read up about the products you buy on company websites. Spoiler alert: Fri Period underwear are made free of PFAS.
- The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council provides current information regarding PFAS and regulatory efforts. You can visit their website here.
One of the reasons our founder started Fri Period was after reading an article about the presence of PFAS in period underwear. Having turned to reusable period products because she thought not only was it better for the planet but also for her, she was horrified at the idea of exposing herself to these forever chemicals.
Fri Period is committed to avoiding PFAS in all of our products. Fri Period underwear are made entirely in the US out of fabric also made in the US, granting us better transparency over what goes into the product.