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A Guide to Minimizing PFAS Exposure in Children



Have you ever wondered why your rain jacket repels water so effectively? The answer might surprise you. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of carcinogens, are often lurking in these everyday items. These “forever chemicals” persist in the environment for thousands of years, posing a significant threat to human health, especially for children.

A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed a troubling reality. An estimated 70 million people in the United States are unknowingly consuming PFAS-contaminated drinking water. This is a cause for concern, especially for children whose developing bodies are more susceptible to the harmful effects of these chemicals.

This guide empowers mothers to become informed advocates for their children’s health. By understanding the risks and implementing proactive strategies, you can significantly minimize your child’s exposure to PFAS and safeguard their future well-being.

Understanding PFAS and Its Impact on Children

PFAS are more than just water-repellent wonders. A recent study by CNN has identified a strong association between exposure to PFAS and a diverse array of health issues in children. 

The effects encompass diminished birth weight, postponed onset of puberty, and compromised cognitive abilities. Additionally, it also establishes links between extended exposure to PFAS and the inhibition of the immune system. This elevates the susceptibility to infections and impedes the efficacy of childhood immunizations. 

How Children Encounter PFAS

Unfortunately, PFAS exposure can occur through various pathways, making it a stealthy threat.

Contaminated Water: Military bases and firefighting sites often use aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS. This foam can contaminate nearby water sources, putting children living in these areas at risk if they consume or come into contact with contaminated water.

Prenatal and Breastfeeding Exposure: It is possible for a mother to have high levels of PFAS in her blood. In such a case, these toxins can be passed on to her developing baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

If your child ever experiences symptoms linked to AFFF (PFAS) exposure, there is legal recourse available to you. You can choose to initiate legal proceedings against the manufacturers of firefighting foam and seek financial reparation through an AFFF lawsuit. 

The number of veteran families filing lawsuits against companies like 3M and DuPont is ever-increasing. Following the latest AFFF lawsuit update, over 200 new cases were added to the AFFF Multi-District Litigation this year.

According to TorHoerman Law, the outcome of these cases relies on the strength of your evidence regarding exposure and damages. The potential settlement increases as you strengthen your case with supporting evidence such as medical records and proof of exposure. 

Keeping it Safe Indoors

Your home is your child’s sanctuary, and it’s crucial to create a haven free from PFAS contamination. Here are some proactive steps you can take:

Test Your Water: Peace of mind starts with knowledge. Invest in a home water test kit specifically designed to detect PFAS. If contamination is present, consider installing a reverse osmosis or activated carbon filtration system to remove these harmful chemicals.

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey has revealed that almost 30% of tap water samples taken across the entire country are tainted with PFAS. The threat from drinking water cannot be ignored. 

Ditch the Toxins in Your Kitchen: Opt for fresh, organic produce and cook with stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic cookware. Avoid pre-packaged and processed foods, as their packaging may contain PFAS that can leach into the food.

Clean Green: Replace harsh chemical cleaners with natural alternatives like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. Opt for PFAS-free options when selecting new furniture and avoid stain-resistant fabrics.

Safeguard Their Skin: Finally, choose personal care products specifically labeled “PFAS-free” for your children, including shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste.

Safeguarding Your Child Beyond the Walls of Home

A PFAS-free lifestyle for your child shouldn’t end at your doorstep. Here’s how you can extend these efforts into the wider world:

Advocate at Daycare and School: Talk to daycare providers and school administrators about their policies on PFAS. Encourage them to use PFAS-free food packaging and cleaning products to create a safer environment for all children.

Explore Wisely: Before venturing outdoors, research the area for potential PFAS contamination, especially near military bases or industrial sites. Resources like the EWG’s interactive map can be helpful tools.

For an up-to-date list of PFAS-contaminated sites in the US, you can consult the Environmental Working Group’s interactive map. Based on the latest update, there are more than 6,000 locations spread over 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories.

Gear Up Safely: Choose outdoor clothing made from natural fibers or treated with PFAS-free water repellents. Websites like PFAS Central offer valuable resources for identifying safe alternatives across various product categories.

Speak Up for PFAS-Free Medical Care: When your child requires medical interventions, advocate for the use of PFAS-free medical devices. Stay informed about the latest advancements in safer medical technology by having open communication with healthcare providers.

By taking these steps, you can reduce your child’s exposure to PFAS and empower them to live a healthier life. Remember, every action, from choosing safe cookware to advocating for change, contributes to a brighter future for your children and the planet.


Q: What are some common sources of PFAS exposure in children?

A: Children can be exposed to PFAS through contaminated drinking water, food packaging from processed foods, and a mother’s blood during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Q: How can I test my home for PFAS contamination?

A: To check for PFAS in your home’s water supply, invest in a home water test kit designed specifically for PFAS detection. If contamination is found, consider installing filtration systems to remove these harmful chemicals.

Q: What are some safe alternatives to PFAS-treated clothing and gear?

When choosing clothes and outdoor gear for your child, look for options made from natural fibers or treated with PFAS-free water repellents. Resources like PFAS Central offer valuable resources to help you identify safe alternatives across various product categories.

All in all, the fight against PFAS exposure extends far beyond safeguarding our children. These “forever chemicals” threaten entire ecosystems and public health on a larger scale. 

By adopting a proactive approach and demanding change from policymakers, we can work towards a future free from the threat of PFAS. Every step we take to protect our children paves the way for a healthier world for generations to come.

I enjoy writing about sports news, business, scholarship programs, and movies, among other topics. When I'm not creating content, I'm most often playing chess.