According to a recent study, toilet paper contains dangerous chemicals that can find their way back into the food chain, particularly via wastewater and groundwater. These chemicals are considered to be carcinogenic, among other things.
Toilet paper worldwide contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and could be a major source of water pollution, according to a new study by University of Florida researchers. Because these chemicals are used in the manufacture of the paper and are not simply degraded in nature.
All toilet paper from across the globe checked for toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” contained the compounds, and the waste flushed down toilets and sent to sewage treatment plants likely creates a significant source of water pollution, new research has found https://t.co/lwmIrhfOYd
— Stuart Khan (@stukhan) March 13, 2023
According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the team examined rolls from 21 major brands of toilet paper sold in the Americas, Africa and Europe, as well as wastewater samples from eight Florida wastewater treatment plants. Both toilet paper and sewage sludge were found to contain PFAS, with so-called diPAPs, specifically 6:2 fluorotelomeric phosphate diester (6:2 diPAP), being the most abundant compound.
Based on the results of available data on PFAS levels in wastewater and per capita consumption of toilet paper in other countries, the researchers estimated that toilet paper accounts for 89 percent in France and 35 percent in Sweden of the 6:2 diPAP in wastewater can contribute. At the same time, according to the study in Canada and the USA, the hygiene agent is only responsible for about 4 percent of the compound in wastewater.
PFAS are a group of approximately 14,000 man-made chemicals typically used to add heat and water resistance to various consumer products. The compounds are commonly known as “forever chemicals” because they rarely break down naturally.
The PFAS chemicals pollute groundwater and eventually make their way back into the food supply. The compounds have been linked to various types of cancer, fetal damage, liver and kidney disease, and other serious health disorders. For example, according to previous studies, 6:2 diPAP could be associated with impaired testicular function in men.
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