Part 8: PFAS: What Can I Do?

Tackling PFAS – reducing it in our lives – can seem insurmountable. Science shows us in data the dangers of these chemicals, and the depth to which they pervade our bodies and the world; what can we possibly do to turn the tide?

Plenty, says Anna Robuck, a University of Rhode Island doctoral student and trainee on STEEP — Sources, Transport, Exposure & Effects of PFAS – a research effort to understand, analyze, and address just how harmful PFAS are to people and the environment. “Don’t be overwhelmed,” says Robuck.  “There are solutions.” 

Learn about PFAS, she says. Then demand accountability from government decision-makers responsible for protecting drinking water and pressing the private sector to keep the chemicals out of household products. At home, kick the non-stick cookware, water repellant boot spray, and microwaveable popcorn in chemical coated bags. “These are the small, day-to-day choices that you can make to reduce your exposure.”

“Forever Chemicals: PFAS – What Can I Do?” is the fifth of an eight-part STEEP video shorts series, “Silent Chemicals, Loud Science,” that explores problems posed by PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), explains how STEEP science is shedding light on the issues, and offers practical and positive steps for making our daily lives safer.

And, says Robuck, a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Dr. Nancy Foster Scholar and a 2019 Switzer Fellow, spread the word near and far, and make the daunting challenge doable. “Tell everyone about this,” she says, and keep the learning and the change going. “It’s a huge enough, a stark enough problem, that the consequences of not doing something is scarier than looking it in the face.”

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