Many folks are already sashaying away from those pesky, toxic unpleasantries that keep popping up in our packaging, fabrics, cookware, and water supply: the notorious forever chemicals.
If you've dipped a toe into the detox pool but haven't given forever chemicals the old heave-ho yet, now might be the perfect time to get started on that journey to a cleaner body.
What Are Forever Chemicals?
Forever chemicals, also known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS for short), are a group of manmade chemicals used in products that need to be heat-, water-, and oil-resistant. (source) The reason they're called forever chemicals is because they’re incredibly persistent in their environment thanks to their carbon-fluorine covalent bonds, staying long-term in our tissue and liver as well as staying active in our water sources, some taking over 1,000 years to degrade! (source)
It's taken us quite a while to understand the environmental crisis these chemicals are truly causing to our earth, animals, and ourselves, as well as understand how exactly they’re affecting our bodies.
While manufacturers have been using PFAS for decades in products, they’re only now starting to get regulated and held responsible for alleviating their existence from their products.
Where Can You Find Forever Chemicals?
You might be surprised to know that forever chemicals have been found lurking in everyday items like
- Teflon and nonstick pans
- Takeout containers
These sneaky chemicals can also make their way into our soil, water, and air, affecting the meats, dairy, and fish we consume.
As we mentioned, forever chemicals stick around for a long time, building up in our bodies over time and causing serious health issues, like disrupting our endocrine system, leading to reproductive problems, and even increasing the risk of cancer. They’ve even been found in the blood and breast milk of both humans and animals. (source)
Read this next: How to Avoid Forever Chemicals in Cookware
How to Avoid and Detox Forever Chemicals
So, how do we make sure these chemicals aren’t entering our bodies in the first place? The rough part is, there are still a limited amount of regulations that America has put in place to prevent PFAS from being created— plus, with all of the products that we purchase from other countries that lack PFAS regulation, avoiding these forever chemicals is all about awareness and action!
Awareness: How to Avoid Forever Chemicals
- Ditch products that include PTFE or anything with “fluoro” or “perflour” in their ingredients label. (source)
- Invest in a water filtration system that filters contaminants.
- Purchase clothing and products from ethically sourced vendors that are transparent about their sourcing practices. Look particularly at clothing that touts itself as stain-resistant and water-resistant.
- Grow your own food so you have complete control over the type of soil, water, and topical care it gets!
Detox: How to Detox Forever Chemicals (PFAS)
- Prioritize your gut health, particularly by eating fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, to support natural bacterial growth in your gut. I also recommend MegaPre and Megasporebiotic as your ‘forever gut support.’ Long-term, you don’t have to take religiously, but do the full dose at least some days a week.
Take detox supplements. I recommend Mi Toxin Binder which promotes regular bowel movement and gently assists your body’s natural detox process. Use GI Detox if you don’t need any help moving your bowels.
- Do coffee enemas with organic, and preferably mold-free coffee, which help stimulate the glutathione in the liver to detox from free radicals and other toxins like PFAS.
- Use detoxifying herbs in your foods to promote free radicals protection, gut health, and regular bowel movements. You can start with dandelion root which supports antioxidant health (source), and burdock root, which supports lymphatic drainage (source). I love our Ultimate Antioxidant Synergy for gentle but effective herbal support.
- Sweat! Whether you have access to a sauna or not, sweating through exercise, sitting out in the sun, doing hot yoga, or purchasing an at-home sauna promotes the detoxification of toxins like heavy metals.
Can You Test for Forever Chemicals in the Body?
PFAS blood or urine testing is available to measure the levels of forever chemicals in your body at the time of the test. Depending on the specific test, it can detect just a few or over 40 types of PFAS.
In fact, we now offer it within a testing package called Total Tox-Burden + PFAS. You can find it at our lab shop here. This test is so awesome as it includes mycotoxins too as well as things like pesticides and parabens.
Now, some testing programs focus only on linear isomers, while others can test for both linear and branched isomers, which may give you insight into how you might have been exposed to these chemicals, since linear isomers are mainly found in soil, whereas branched isomers are often discovered in water (source). But tests ultimately won’t be able to tell you where the forever chemicals came from.
Are There Any Symptoms or Health Complications from Forever Chemicals?
The risk that forever chemicals are having on our collective health is a public health crisis. It’s taken until this year that the EPA has even set limits on 6 big forever chemical contaminants, but the repercussions will still be affecting us long after laws are set in place. Forever chemicals cause many severe health complications, some of which include:
- Infertility: a study from the Environmental Health journal outlines that a team of scientists saw a dramatic rise in fertility rates after the city of Oakdale, Minnesota started filtering forever chemicals from its tap water. (source)
- Liver issues: out of 111 peer-reviewed studies, researchers concluded that the top three most common PFAS detected in humans were all connected with elevated levels of ALT in the blood, which is a liver enzyme that, when elevated, causes liver damage. (source)
- Developmental delays in babies and children: researchers Dr. Grandjean and his team witnessed a 40% drop of the diphtheria antibody in babies when they were exposed to forever chemicals from their mother’s blood serum, and being exposed at age 5 made them 2-4x more likely to lack a protective level of tetanus and diphtheria antibodies once they reach 7 years old. (source)
And there are even more studies that have proven health complications from forever chemicals like a weakened immune system, kidney cancer, and hormone disruption. (source)
Our world is surrounded by toxicity, lots of which we can’t control. But there is so much that we can control when it comes to our health. Here’s how you can embrace detoxification to rid your body of forever chemicals:
Immediately replace your nonstick pans with a completely nontoxic alternative like the Bridgit-approved Chef’s Foundry P600 Cookware.
- Drink out of a Berkey water filter to protect from 99.9% of forever chemicals, as well as pharmaceutical runoff, pesticides, chlorine, and other toxins that regular water filters can’t address.
- Take a regular glutathione supplement like our Glutathione Synergy to boost your body’s natural ability to detox, starting with half a capsule a day and working up as needed!
Real Life Resources
Want more support? As I mentioned, we offer a toxins testing package as well as many other great tests so you can create a targeted plan.
Once you receive your results, you can schedule a session with our team to review 1-3 labs and create a winning protocol.
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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and FunctionalDetoxProducts.com.