What Are PFAS? And Are They Hazardous To Our Health?

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A label states that these pans do not contain PFAS. For consumers, the health information that state and local governments and industry are releasing about a family of nonstick and stain-resistant compounds can be a lot like the label messages on those pots and pans: a confusing mix of reassurances and alarm. (Ellen Knickmeyer/AP)
A label states that these pans do not contain PFAS. (Ellen Knickmeyer/AP)

PFAS is the commonly used name for a group of chemicals that do not completely biodegrade and are the subject of increasing concern for state and federal environmental regulators.

They've been linked to kidney and liver disease, reproductive issues and other health concerns. Water supplies are protected largely by a patchwork of state and local rules governing PFAS.

Northeastern University professor of health sciences Phil Brown joined WBUR's Morning Edition host Bob Oakes to explore just what danger the chemicals present.

This segment aired on July 31, 2019.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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