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Human exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals could be greatly reduced if manufacturers add chemicals only when they are truly essential in terms of health, safety and functioning of society. That's the conclusion of a study published today in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
In this study, the researchers proposed 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 - Consumer - Goods - Properties - Water
PFAS are used in many consumer goods because of their unique properties, including water and stain repellency. However, a growing number of scientists and health professionals are expressing concern about these chemicals since they persist for a very long time, seep into the water and soil, and may adversely impact humans 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.
The study classifies many uses of PFAS as "non-essential." For...
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