Chemical inaction

There was a time when people thought chemicals would be the answer to all of our problems. Now, they are the problem. And a deadly one, at that.

Take PFOA, for example. You can find this chemical in a number of common household products–food packaging, fire-retardant foams, and Teflon, just to name a few.

Yet, new research shows that it might be linked to heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

In this latest study, researchers looked at data from more than 1,200 middle-aged men and women. They found that cardiovascular risk rose right alongside increasing blood levels of PFOA.

In fact, subjects with the highest PFOA levels were nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and peripheral artery disease as those with the lowest PFOA levels. Even after accounting for factors like age, sex, race, cigarette smoking, and diabetes.

But don’t expect the EPA to do anything about this. Law doesn’t require chemical companies like DuPont and 3M to monitor or report emissions of PFOA. It’s completely unregulated.

In fact, one Teflon manufacturing plant in West Virginia released over 40 tons of PFOA into the air and the Ohio River back in 1999. So is it any surprise that more than 98 percent of Americans test positive for some level of this chemical in their blood?

Simply put, PFOAs are endangering the health of the entire country. And the government is allowing it to happen. Meanwhile, we continue to scratch our heads and wonder why we don’t feel well.

There’s no excuse for inaction in this day and age. We’ve had decades to find out what these chemicals really do to us. Isn’t it high time we demanded changes instead of just accepting this toxic environment as normal?

Obviously, one step toward protecting yourself is to stop buying products that contain PFOA. For starters, throw away your Teflon non-stick cookware. Other familiar brand names to avoid are Stainmaster, Scotchgard, and Silverstone.

Basically, any product designed to repel dirt, grease, and water is likely to contain PFOAs. That includes carpet and upholstery treatments, sprays for leather and shoes, and a variety of cleaning products, shampoos, and floor wax, just to name a few.

But boycotting toxic products isn’t enough. We also have to demand a cleaner habitat from the powers that we elect to ensure our health.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. But if we make enough noise, it will happen.

Doheny, Kathleen. “Household Chemical Linked to Heart Disease.” WebMD Health News. Sept. 4, 2012.
“Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease in US Adults.” Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(18):1397-1403.