PFAS are chemicals that are used to make products water and dirt resistant. It is measured to a very high degree in the environment, but also in our blood and tissue. A recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) shows that babies also have a high level of PFAS in the blood.
The presence of PFAS in the blood of infants is so high that the EFSA recently set a 50 times lower standard than the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment used as a safe standard so far.
“We humans already have so many of these chemicals in our blood that we pass them on to the next generation,” says Majorie van Duursen, professor of toxicology at VU University Amsterdam. It reaches infants through the pregnant woman. It already enters the uterus through the blood and after the birth of the child it is passed on through breast milk.”
“The chemical affects the immune system, causing the immune system to respond less well, the vaccinations to work less well and the infants to be more susceptible to disease,” says Van Duursen.
There are more health effects associated with PFAS. For example, in adults it has an effect on cholesterol and liver. The problem with small children is that they are more sensitive.
PFAS is used in many products, such as a raincoat, pans with a non-stick coating, or in a dirt and water-resistant sofa, but it is also found in eggs and cosmetics, and our drinking water. That is why a lot is produced and then it ends up in the environment and in our food. The substances break down very poorly and continue to circulate in the body and environment for a long time.
“The biggest problem is in production. As long as we continue to buy these kinds of products, those substances will be produced and emitted,” says Van Duursen.