Ways to Reduce Our Exposure

Any effective, long-term approach to reduce our exposure to PFAS is a pollution prevention approach that seeks to reduce and/or eliminate the chemicals from production at their sources before they ever make their way into the environment and our bodies. In the meantime, there are some simple things that we can do to reduce or eliminate our exposure to PFAS:

  • Filter your household’s water. Reverse osmosis, undersink two-stage filters, and activated carbon filters are some of the filtration technologies that can be used to filter out PFAS. Most under-sink reverse osmosis filters and two-stage filters have been shown to reduce PFAS by up to 94%.
  • Use common PFAS-free cookware such as cast iron, ceramic or stainless steel cooking skillets and pots.
  • Avoid grease-resistant food packaging such as those used in fast food packaging, pizza boxes, and microwaveable popcorn.
  • Avoid personal care products containing PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon®), “anti-aging” cosmetics, or that contain other ‘fluoro-’ ingredients such as Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, or DEA-C8-18 Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate.
  • Support your local farmers and know where your food comes from! Try to purchase from local vendors or farmers markets that offer “chemical-free” or certified organic crops. Gathering information about how our food is grown or raised is no doubt difficult, but connecting with our local producers is the first step to being better informed about our food.
  • Follow consumption advisories and public health guidance if your state is investigating PFAS in wildlife. PFAS can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in fish and game animals.
  • Look for PFAS-free household products such as cleaners, paints, and home maintenance products. Several big box hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot have policies in place to not carry products with PFAS.
  • Discover the benefits of composting! Chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have a number of adverse environmental and health impacts. Some contain PFAS as ingredients or it can leach from their plastic containers. Iowa Waste Reduction Center has more information about community composting and local University Extension Offices, Master Gardener groups and other local horticulture clubs will have additional information about maintaining chemical-free lawns and gardens.
  • Pollution prevention (P2) at PFAS sources is key to reducing or eliminating PFAS in the environment. Find out what steps are being taken to ensure your community has access to clean, safe, PFAS-free drinking water.

This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service.