Protecting King County from PFAS
We’re taking action to protect the people, fish, and wildlife of King County from PFAS, a class of toxic chemicals used in a wide range of consumer goods that include food packaging, cosmetics, cookware, upholstery cleaners, carpets, rain-resistant clothing, firefighting foam, and more. PFAS can harm human health and the natural environment.
PFAS – short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are intentionally designed not to break down naturally. This is why they’re also known as “forever chemicals,” since they can last for hundreds and possibly thousands of years.
Risks to human health
We are still learning more about PFAS every day. Studies on both humans and rodents have shown that PFAS exposures can lead to:
- Increased cholesterol levels/risk of obesity
- Decreased vaccine response in children
- Reproductive effects, such as decreased fertility, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
- Developmental effects or delays in children, such as low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes
- Changes in liver enzymes
- Increased risk of prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer
- Interference with a body’s natural hormones
There are thousands of PFAS, but only a small percentage is studied or tracked in the environment. As we learn more about PFAS, we expect to find additional health impacts. You can learn more on the CDC’s Health effects of PFAS website .
You can also read more on the Washington State Department of Health’s PFAS website . There you’ll find information about eating fish caught in Washington lakes, PFAS testing and proposed drinking water regulations. You’ll also learn what Washington state is doing to restrict PFAS in products like firefighting foams, food packaging, carpets, waterproofing and stain-proofing fabric sprays, and more.