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Ocean Spray the biggest PFAS problem. cover

Ocean Spray the biggest PFAS problem.

Photographer: Christoffer Engström | Source: Unsplash

Ocean Spray's Hidden Hazard: The Threat of PFAS

When you think of ocean spray, images of a refreshing, salty mist come to mind. However, recent research has revealed a disturbing reality: the ocean spray we cherish is laden with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as "forever chemicals."

Unveiling the Invisible Threat

A groundbreaking study published in the journal Nature highlights that ocean spray is releasing more PFAS into the atmosphere than all industrial sources combined. These chemicals, widely used for their water, stain, and heat-resistant properties, are notoriously persistent in the environment. Instead of breaking down, they cycle continuously through water, soil, and air.

Researchers found that PFAS concentrations in sea spray aerosols were exponentially higher than in the water itself, posing a significant threat to coastal communities. The study's lead author, Ian Cousins, noted, "We thought PFAS were going to go into the ocean and would disappear, but they cycle around and come back to land, and this could continue for a long time into the future."

The Health Implications

The persistence of PFAS is alarming due to their severe health impacts. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer, kidney disease, decreased immunity, and birth defects. The fact that ocean spray can transport these substances inland means that even areas far from industrial pollution sources are at risk. This contamination can affect groundwater, surface water, crops, and even the food supply.

Steps Toward Mitigation

While the presence of PFAS in ocean spray is a significant concern, there are actionable steps we can take to mitigate exposure and environmental impact:

  1. Avoid Non-stick Cookware: Opt for alternatives like stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron.
  2. Check Beauty Products: Steer clear of products containing PTFE or ingredients with "fluoro" in their names.
  3. Ditch Fast Food Packaging: Use reusable food containers instead.
  4. Support PFAS-Free Brands: Choose brands committed to eliminating PFAS from their products.

Regulatory and Community Efforts

Efforts to address PFAS contamination are gaining traction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced national drinking water standards for PFAS, and states like Maine, Washington, and Minnesota have banned PFAS in food packaging. Retailers such as The Home Depot and Lowe's are phasing out carpets and rugs containing these chemicals.

By making mindful choices and supporting stronger regulations, we can collectively work toward reducing PFAS pollution. This issue underscores the importance of ongoing research and proactive measures to safeguard public health and the environment.

Looking Ahead

The discovery of PFAS in ocean spray serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive nature of these chemicals. While the path to a PFAS-free future is complex, it is not impossible. Through individual actions and collective advocacy, we can reduce the prevalence of these hazardous substances and protect our planet for future generations.

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By shedding light on the hidden dangers of PFAS in ocean spray, this blog post underscores the urgent need for awareness and action. With concerted efforts, we can mitigate the impact of these "forever chemicals" and move towards a cleaner, healthier future.

To learn more and find ways of avoiding PFAS in your water supply, go here

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