In this study, researchers propose a framework based on the concept of "essential use" to determine whether a chemical is really needed in a particular application. They demonstrate the concept on a class of synthetic chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
PFAS are used in many consumer goods because of their unique properties such as water and stain repellency. However, a growing number of scientists and health professionals express concern about these chemicals since they persist for a very long time, seep into our water and soil, and may adversely impact people's health and wildlife. Human health problems linked to certain PFAS exposure include kidney and testicular cancer, liver malfunction, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, lower birth weight and size, obesity, and decreased immune response to vaccines.
Study - Uses - PFAS - Example - Study
The study classifies many uses of PFAS as "non-essential." For example, the study points out that it may be nice to have water-repelling surfer shorts, but in this instance water repellency is not essential. Other products analyzed...
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