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FDA Confirms “Forever Chemicals” in Food. What Exactly Are They?

July 05, 2019 / Dan Nosowitz

PFAS stands for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” which is a string of words and part-words that means basically nothing to almost everyone. They’re a group of more than 500 synthetic chemicals which were largely used in the past for certain qualities; they’re extremely resistant to water and stains. 3M used to make them for packaging; today they’re found in stuff like that foam firefighters use. What makes them problematic is not that they’re incredibly popular, but rather that they are extremely durable. Sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” they stay in the environment—in the air, water, in plants, in the bodies of humans and animals—for a very, very long time.