Cleaning supplies often use harsh chemical solvents and other additives to perform their function. It’s unfortunate and something we don’t often realize, but beneath the perfumed lemon fresh scents lurk some truly noxious chemicals and one such class are called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS for short. PFAS are manufactured chemicals which are not biodegradable and they are contained in a lot of different items, but primarily cleaners.
We can be exposed to them through:
- Contaminated soil.
This can affect a number of organs and bodily systems and can get into our bloodstreams causing irreparable and long-term damage that can often turn into chronic illness, namely, chronic kidney disease.
Since so many people are exposed to these PFAS chemicals and to the newer alternative PFAS agents such as GenX, it is extremely important to understand if and how these chemicals may contribute to serious chronic illnesses like kidney disease and certain kinds of cancers.
After much studying and analyzing of PFAS, it’s been found that poor kidney function and other kidney functions are related to these chemicals, especially for children who are more exposed than adults.
PFAS are found in:
- Firefighting Foams like those in fire extinguishers.
- Nonstick cookware like Teflon
- Waxes and Polishes for furnishings, floors, automobiles, etc.
- Food packaging, namely microwave popcorn.
- Cleaning products, especially degreasers
- Dry cleaner solvent
- Stain and water repellant fabrics.
In humans, animals and fish, PFAS can build up and persist over time. It has been concluded that there are many ways in which these chemicals can cause chronic damage, especially to the kidneys.
In our constant struggle to maintain good health and keep toxins at bay as much as possible, here are some alternatives you can try in your daily life to minimize exposure to PFAS.
- Opt for ceramic, stainless steel or cast iron cookware for a safer non-stick option.
- Make your own floor polish by adding a mixture of 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. of distilled white vinegar to 1 cup of warm water and using essential oils (few drops only) to add fragrance.
- You can use a similar method to make a DIY turtle wax for your car, using coconut oil, beeswax and vinegar with essential oil.
- For a natural degreaser, use a solution of distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salt and citrus fruit rinds left to combine for two weeks before straining the rinds out. Add essential oil for fragrance if desired.
- For delicate garments, use a steamer or hand wash instead of dry cleaning. Alternatively, spraying with vodka can kill any odor-causing bacteria.
- Satisfy your popcorn cravings with stovetop popcorn or air popped popcorn, skip microwave popcorn whenever you can.
Using some of these tips and being aware of product labels on everything from foods you eat to cleaning supplies you use, you place yourself in a position to make better, healthier choices that could keep your kidneys going strong for years to come.