Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a class of man-made chemicals that break down slowly in the environment, can accumulate in the human body and have been linked to all manner of negative health effects from cancer to high cholesterol.

But these “forever chemicals” are nearly impossible to avoid. They are, quite literally, all around us: in consumer products, from cosmetics and cookware to food packaging and firefighting foam; in our food supply; in the soil, air and water; and even running through our veins. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found traces of PFAS in the blood of nearly everyone it has tested for the past two decades, which suggests widespread exposure.

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