Fluorinated Plastics Carry the Risk of ‘Forever Chemicals’: A Looming Threat to Public Health

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Fluorinated plastics, widely used in various products, have raised concerns due to the presence of ‘forever chemicals’, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can pose serious health risks. This article delves into the issue, exploring the contamination of fluorinated plastics with PFAS, the regulatory actions taken, and the far-reaching impact of this issue.

A Hidden Threat: PFAS Chemicals in Fluorinated Plastics

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals known for their durability and resistance to water, oil, and heat. These properties have made them valuable in various applications, including nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and firefighting foam. However, PFAS also exhibit a persistent nature, earning them the nickname ‘forever chemicals’, as they break down very slowly in the environment and can accumulate in the human body.

Unraveling the Mystery: Tracing PFAS Contamination to Fluorinated Plastics

The discovery of PFAS contamination in fluorinated plastics came as a surprise. The process of fluorinating plastics, which strengthens the material, was found to generate PFAS compounds that could leach into the products they contained. This revelation highlighted a previously unknown source of PFAS exposure, raising concerns about the widespread use of fluorinated plastics.

A Regulatory Gap: Enhance Technologies and the EPA’s Response

Inhance Technologies LLC, a Houston-based company, emerged as the primary fluorinator of plastics in the US. Despite the EPA’s demand to cease fluorination and a lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice, Inhance continues to operate, leaving the public largely unaware of the potential PFAS contamination.

The Widespread Reach of Fluorinated Plastics: A Cause for Concern

Fluorinated plastics are ubiquitous in our daily lives, found in a vast array of products, including containers for weedkillers, gasoline, household cleaners, cosmetics, and shampoos. Their use extends beyond bottles, encompassing caps, trigger sprayers, mascara wands, fuel tanks, syringes, cold packs, and industrial drums. The presence of fluorinated plastics in food and beverage packaging further expands the potential exposure to PFAS.

Protecting Public Health: The Need for Transparency and Action

The widespread use of fluorinated plastics and the potential for PFAS contamination pose a significant public health concern. Increased transparency from Inhance Technologies regarding its fluorination process and the PFAS levels in treated plastics is crucial. Additionally, stricter regulations and enforcement are needed to protect consumers from exposure to these harmful chemicals.


The issue of PFAS contamination in fluorinated plastics highlights the need for vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard public health. Increased awareness about the potential risks associated with these chemicals, coupled with responsible manufacturing practices and robust regulatory oversight, are essential to mitigate the threat of ‘forever chemicals’ in our daily lives.

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