People who work in dangerous conditions should wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing as a safety measure. Concerns have been raised, though, about chemicals called PFAS that could be harmful and are found in these clothes. Here, we’ll talk about how often PFAS are found in flame-resistant clothing and what health risks they might pose. We’ll also talk about what companies are doing to cut down on the amount of PFAS in their products.
What are PFAS?
Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that were made by humans and have been used in many products. They are known for not sticking, being waterproof, and not catching fire. PFAS have been used in many everyday things, like food packaging, cookware, clothing, furniture, carpets, and firefighting foam.
PFAS can last for a long time in the environment and have been linked to a number of health problems. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, problems with reproduction and the thyroid, and damage to the immune system. Because of this, there has been a growing movement to limit how much PFAS are used in consumer products.
Does FR Clothing Contain PFAS?
In the past few years, many people have talked about and done research on the question of whether or not flame-resistant clothing contains PFAS. Studies have shown that flame-resistant clothing is made with a variety of materials, including PFAS. But the amount of PFAS in flame-resistant clothing is very different depending on who made it and what materials were used.
For example, a recent study found that some flame-resistant clothing has a lot of PFAS in it, while other flame-resistant clothing has only a little bit. The study also found that when flame-resistant clothing is exposed to higher temperatures, the amount of PFAS in the clothing increases. This means that flame-resistant clothes might not be safe to wear in places with high temperatures.
Overall, it is clear that flame-resistant clothing can contain PFAS, but the levels of PFAS vary a lot depending on the manufacturer and the materials used. It’s important to know the possible health risks of being exposed to PFAS for a long time and to take steps to limit the amount of time you might be exposed.
PFAS and Possible Health Risks
One health risk of PFAS is that it might make you more likely to get some kinds of cancer. Studies have shown that people who have been exposed to high levels of PFAS are more likely to get kidney and testicular cancer. There is also some evidence that PFAS may be linked to other types of cancer, such as bladder, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
There is also evidence that PFAS can cause other health problems, such as less fertility, problems with the thyroid, and changes in the immune system. PFAS have also been linked to developmental problems in children, such as low birth weight and problems with thinking and moving.
PFAS can also build up in the body over time, which means that even low levels of exposure can have long-term effects on health. Because of this, it’s important to stay away from PFAS as much as possible.
How Are Flame-Resistant Clothing Businesses Reducing PFAS?
Because of health concerns about PFAS, many manufacturers have taken steps to reduce the amount of PFAS in their products. Some companies have changed the way they make their flame-resistant fabrics to get rid of all PFAS. Some people are using fluoropolymers or silicone-based treatments instead, which don’t stay in the environment as long.
Because of these efforts, the amount of PFAS in flame-resistant clothing has gone down. In a 2022 study, researchers tested the fabric of 15 different flame-resistant clothes and found that the amount of PFAS had gone down a lot since a 2018 study.
People who work in dangerous situations need to wear clothes that won’t catch on fire. Some of these clothes have PFAS, which are chemicals that could be dangerous. Studies have shown that some flame-resistant clothing does contain PFAS, but the amount varies from cloth to cloth. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to cancer, problems with reproduction, problems with the thyroid, and immune system damage, so it is important to limit exposure as much as possible.
The presence of PFAS in manufactured goods has been reduced thanks to efforts made by the manufacturers. The manufacturing process for flame-resistant clothing has been modified to eliminate the use of PFAS altogether, and alternative chemicals with a shorter half-life in the environment have been substituted for those PFAS. As a result, the total amount of PFAS present in these garments has decreased. It is essential to have an understanding of the potential dangers that PFAS may pose to one’s health and to take measures to reduce one’s exposure to these chemicals to the greatest extent possible.