By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 20, 2015
© David Kilpatrick / Alamy

The potential negative environmental effects of polyfluoroalkyl substances and perfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFASs) have been under investigation for quite some time now. These chemicals are often used to prevent things from sticking to each other, like on non-stick pans. But the same properties that cause them to prevent things from sticking make them extremely difficult to break down in the environment. And a group of 200 scientists has come together to condemn their use.

The scientists issued what they call “The Madrid Statement” in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In their paper they outline a laundry list of problems and concerns over the use of PFASs, including their appearance in human tissue and bodily fluids as well as links to testicular and kidney cancers and a number of other serious health issues.

As Modern Farmer reports, a fluorotechnology industry group issued an almost as comprehensive response, stating, “The core weakness of the document is the absence of a compelling rationale for the sweeping scope of those recommendations.”

It’s a lot of scientific talk from two obviously very opposed sides – and a topic the average consumer probably knows little about. But if more isn’t done to address the issue of PFASs soon, it could be an issue we have to face for the millions of years these substances linger in the environment.

At the very least, the whole debate can leave you wondering how an issue like GMO, which many scientists consider safe, can garner such a huge uproar, while a subject like this can slip through the cracks.