Perfluorochemicals (PFCs for short) have wonderful waterproof and nonstick properties, which makes them very useful for things like nonstick cookware, camping gear, and firefighting materials. Unfortunately, they’re also linked to cancer and thyroid problems and can weaken the immune system. Even small doses can be cause for alarm when PFCs are found in drinking water.
Despite the health risks, a recently released report states that 27 states have water contaminated by PFCs, putting 15 million Americans at risk. Manufacturing plants are not the only PFC polluters; they also come from airports, air bases, fast food wrappers, and areas used to train firefighters.
Despite the risks in using PFCs, there are no health regulations concerning them. If you want to see if you’re at risk of PFC exposure, check out this interactive map, a joint effort of Northwestern University and the Environmental Working Group compiled from EPA data on PFC contamination.