Even Green and Non-Toxic Home Goods Have PFAS

A new study found manufactured chemicals in home products, even if they were marketed as "green."

A new study released by Silent Spring Institute and published in the Journal of Environmental  Science and Technology found PFAS in children's textiles and clothing. According to the report, PFAS were found only in water or stain resistant products- even ones marketed as “green” or “nontoxic.”

PFAS, the acronym for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, are extremely durable chemicals. Products that contain PFAS include nonstick cookware, stain-resistant coatings, water resistant coatings, paints, varnishes, sealants, some cosmetics and personal hair products, and grease-resistant paper (like microwave popcorn bags or candy wrappers). Long called “forever chemicals,” PFAS are considered highly dangerous. 


The study only detected PFAS in products marketed as water and stain resistant.

PFAS have been found to alter fertility and metabolism as well as increasing obesity and cancer risk. The negative effects on children are long-term and may affect growth, learning and behavior.  The chemicals have been found in 97% of Americans, and because children are smaller, the risks from PFAS may be greater.

Among the findings from the study:

  • PFAS were detected most frequently in upholstered furniture, clothing, and pillow protectors.
  • Pillow protectors and clothing in general had higher levels of PFAS than other products.
  • PFOA, a legacy PFAS that has been phased out in the U.S., was detected in a variety of products, including those labeled as “green.” Most of those products came from China.

Though the study doesn’t provide solutions, one silver lining was that products that were not marketed as water or stain resistant were not found to have PFAS. Another silver lining? Researchers have been working to develop ways to break these forever chemicals down, providing hope to the millions of Americans whose land and water has been contaminated by them.