according to an investigation carried out by GTEpublished in February of this year, revealed that more than 330 species of animals are affected by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFASfor its acronym in English).
The PFAS They are indestructible chemical substances that are found in the environment (hence their other name: “eternal chemical substances”) and that have contaminated soil, water and, recently, were found in the organisms of hundreds of animal species.
These chemicals have been used since 1940, by various industrial sectors, and are part of various products for daily use, such as food containers, clothing, kitchen utensils such as frying pans (due to Teflon), among others. Their concentration in the environment and the impossibility of being “destroyed” or degraded, makes them highly polluting and toxic for humans and animals.
About PFAS or “Forever Chemicals”
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used for several decades in the manufacturing and production of a large number of consumer and industrial products. Also known as “eternal chemicals” or “eternal substances” for being “extraordinarily persistent in the environment and in our bodies.
The European Environment Agency states that “they are a group of more than 4,700 widely used synthetic chemical agents that accumulate over time in humans and in the environment.” The Agency, and countless investigations, ensure that these substances can cause damage, not only to the environment, but to the health of human beings.
Environmental Health Perspectives published, in 2007, a study reporting the presence of these chemicals in human blood. Due to the massive use of these chemicals, the investigation ensured that almost the entire American population had PFAS in blood. The consequences will vary according to the degree of exposure and percentages. Exposure could cause, according to the researchers, kidney or testicular cancer, high blood pressure, a deficit in the immune system, among others.
Now the PFAS They will not exclusively cause health problems in humans. The massive presence of PFAS Hundreds of species of animals would be poisoned in the environment.
About EWG’s research
Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-governmental, environmental organization based in USAwho has published various investigations on the PFAS and its consequences.
The most recent deals with how these substances are directly damaging some 330 species of wild animals around the world. david andresscientist of GTEHe told an American outlet that “it is really a global pollution problem, and it is likely to affect wildlife everywhere.”
Previous research has ensured that the PFAS cause health problems in humans. Consequences on the immune system, increased cholesterol, reproductive problems, certain types of cancer, among others, were some of the consequences discovered by the consumption, in certain values, of PFAS. Little was known, until now, of the consequences in other species. As stated GTE “Research increasingly suggests that wildlife could suffer similar harm from exposure to PFAS.”
Scientists denounce the risk suffered by all exposed species, but, in particular, those species in danger of extinction that, in addition, now must deal with consequences for their health.
In order to raise awareness and inform, EWG has created an interactive map which shows “the global magnitude of the pollution crisis facing wildlife”. It shows that pollution has spread practically throughout the globe and that it affects marine, terrestrial and aerial species.
Another study, at a European level, carried out by a group of environmental journalists, “The Eternal Pollution Project” (Eternal Pollution Project), denounced that in Europe there are more than 17 thousand sites contaminated by PFAS.
According to the investigation, certain places in Europe and the United Kingdom would be affected by high concentrations of PFAS. In 640 places, the contamination was seen in the water, with concentrations of 10,000 ng/L in at least 300 of them. Crispin Halsallenvironmental chemist lancaster universityHe declared: “This type of concentrations causes me concern.”
Crispin HalsallHe added that the contamination of water at these levels can generate conflicts, not only for the environment, but also for the animals that consume it and, in turn, for humans: “There is a risk that livestock will access these waters and ( then the PFAS are) in the human food chain. The same, he explained, would happen, for example, in fishing areas or with birds for consumption.
You may also like