EXPOSED: These 12 companies fuel the all-pervasive forever chemical crisis
(NaturalHealth365) Most of us have probably heard about the “dirty dozen” produce list – the twelve fruits and vegetables known to contain the highest amount of pesticide residue when grown conventionally (which is why consumers are strongly encouraged to purchase the organic varieties whenever possible). In case you need a little refresher, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that the most pesticide-laden conventionally grown fruits and veggies include strawberries, spinach, blueberries, green beans, cherries, apples, and bell peppers, to name a few.
But a new investigation by the non-profit organization International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec for short) has just revealed a new “Dirty Dozen” list: this time, a list of twelve global companies that are largely responsible for the production of harmful chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
“Forever chemicals” are harming our health, our children, and our environment – here are the companies churning them out the most
PFAS are a group of synthetic compounds used in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial processes and found in an alarming number of products most of us use or are around every day – including food packaging, “stain-resistant” furniture and textiles, fire extinguishing foam, household cleaners, and even personal care products like shampoo, floss, and cosmetics.
PFAS are dubbed “forever chemicals” because they are incredibly slow to degrade and as a result tend to stick around in our groundwater, soil, air, rain, and other areas of the environment. Unfortunately, this means it’s incredibly easy for PFAS to get into just about everything and anything around us, including our food, water, and our bodies.
The problem? Ongoing research links PFAS to a laundry list of long-term health problems in humans (and that’s not even including the environmental harms). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), possible health problems associated with PFAS exposure include:
- Decreased fertility and other hormonal and reproductive problems
- Increased high blood pressure in pregnant women
- Increased risk of certain cancers (e.g., prostate, kidney, and testicular); the National Cancer Institute labels PFAS as possibly carcinogenic
- Developmental delays in children, including low birth weight, precocious (early) puberty, and behavior problems
- Impaired immune function, which can lead to things like negative vaccine responses and decreased ability to fight infections
- Increased risk of obesity or high cholesterol
ChemSec, the non-profit organization that has conducted their investigation on companies responsible for pumping forever chemicals into the environment, notes that the global market for PFAS was over $28 billion in 2022, “with estimated profits of around $4 billion … [b]ut … the profits pale compared to the societal costs of these chemicals.”
In fact, according to ChemSec, the estimated global societal cost of PFAS is a whopping $16.9 trillion per year. In discussing their research, ChemSec also adds that “[i]f PFAS producers were to pay for the pollution they caused, many would go bankrupt.”
So, who are these so-called Dirty Dozen companies who have earned the dubious title of being the world’s top PFAS producers? They are, in alphabetical order:
Ironically, many of these companies have touted missions to promote the health and wellness of the planet and the people in it. Here’s Honeywell’s company motto: “We believe what happens tomorrow is determined by what we do today.” Bayer’s “vision” is “Health for all, Hunger for none,” with a stated purpose of promoting “Science for a Better Life.” And Daikin’s mission statement? “Our innovative products and solutions are designed to improve people’s health and well-being and reduce the environmental impact of heating and cooling.”
Talk about green-washing and questionable business ethics!
As a consumer in a world where PFAS are hard to avoid, what can you do?
We’ve discussed before ways you can reduce (although likely not eliminate) your family’s exposure to PFAS. This includes reducing how much fast food and other types of processed food you eat, filtering your water, not buying furniture labeled “stain-resistant,” using glass or stainless steel food containers (instead of plastic), and using stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead of non-stick.
But if you feel compelled, you can also be more mindful of the type of companies you choose to give your money to. Are there any companies above that you’ve purchased products from? Can you consider any alternatives? Is your money invested in these companies? Maybe your financial advisor can help you to make some profitable changes.
No need to stress. Just know that becoming a more informed and conscious consumer is always your right, especially in a world with so much conflict and confusion.
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