The PFAS Problem: Demystifying "Forever Chemicals" - Modern Farmer

The PFAS Problem: Demystifying “Forever Chemicals”

In this series, we breakdown PFAS - the "forever chemicals" that are are simultaneously everywhere, toxic, and largely unregulated and help you understand what can do to protect yourself.

Photography by Shutterstock

In April 2024, the EPA passed its first-ever legally enforceable drinking water standards on a handful of PFAS—a group of man-made chemicals widely used to make non-stick coatings and products that resist heat, oil, water and more. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances keep food from sticking to packaging or cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective. They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their tendency to not break down. PFAS have been used commercially since the 1940s, and it has long been known that these chemicals are toxic to people. Big chemical companies, such as 3M, have known about the harmful qualities of these toxic chemicals for decades but intentionally hid the evidence. The EPA now admits that “exposure to PFAS has been linked to deadly cancers, impacts to the liver and heart, and immune and developmental damage to infants and children.

We are closely following PFAS regulations and researching ways to protect ourselves in the meantime. Please reach out to our staff writer Lena Beck directly with questions about PFAS, to tell us what you want to know next, or to share your story. Email: 


Photo by Shutterstock

Toxic PFAS are Everywhere, and Remain Largely Unregulated

by Lena Beck

A new report from Food & Water Watch analyzed why attempts to legally rein in “forever chemicals” continue to fail.

Photo courtesy of Kyla Bennett

You’ve Already Been Exposed to Toxic PFAS. But You Can Take Steps to Minimize Future Exposure.

by Lena Beck

“Forever chemicals” are everywhere, but people aren’t powerless. Here are expert recommendations for how to decrease your risk of exposure.


PFAS: Behind the Label

by Lena Beck

How do you know if your products are PFAS-free or not? Here’s our expert-informed guide.


The EPA Just Passed the First-Ever Federal Regulations for ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water. Here are the Top Five Things You Need to Know.

by Lena Beck

Of the thousands of “forever chemicals” out there, the Environmental Protection Agency just passed a drinking water standard for a small handful of them. Here’s what it means for you.


Asked & Answered: PFAS Q&A with Kyla Bennett

by Lena Beck

PFAS expert Kyla Bennett answers Modern Farmer reader questions about forever chemicals. Here’s what it means for you.



“The states and the federal government are acting so slowly, we have to take it upon ourselves to reduce our risk as best we can” Modern Farmer’s PFAS reporting is strengthened by the expertise of organizations like PEER. To connect with PEER CLICK HERE

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