Have you ever wondered why your favorite frying pan doesn’t stick, why fat doesn’t leak through your microwave popcorn bag, or why your jacket doesn’t get wet? All of these functions are most likely caused by the same family of synthetic chemicals known as PFAS. On the other hand, these substances are currently being researched, and in some cases, are being phased out entirely.

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of chemicals. Thousands of fluorine-based compounds exist. They’ve been discovered in a variety of places, including drinking water, dust, and human blood. The presence of PFAS in your house and body is almost certain.

These chemicals, which may be found in everything from food packaging to cosmetics and furniture, have been linked to health risks such as liver damage, kidney cancer, and birth defects. According to Jonatan Kleimark, a senior chemistry and business advisor at ChemSec, a Swedish non-profit organization pushing for safer chemical use, reading chemical compound labels and names is nearly impossible for the typical person.