A substance is determined to be toxic by it’s ability to cause damage on a cellular level or even effect the whole body. This damage may be visible, such as a burn or it may be invisible damage, such as organ damage, cancer or memory loss. Most chemicals enter the body via the lungs, the mouth, the skin and the eyes that occur with cleaning supplies, stain and water resistant products. In the office environment people should be especially concerned with exposure to PFCs, or Perfluorinated Compounds. PFCs are chemicals with stain-resistant or water-resistant properties. They are applied on office furniture, carpet, food packaging and food preparation pans and utensils. Our contact with these materials is one of the reasons PFCs are now more commonly found in our blood.
3M’s Scotchguard was discontinued in 2002 when studies found PFCs in their carpet, furniture and clothing treatments. However, not all manufacturers have discontinued use. PFCs are still found in teflon coated cooking utensils and on most office furniture. One source that many people are unaware of, is the use of these in our food packaging such as the grease-resistant lining on pizza boxes and the inside of microwave popcorn bags.
There is still much to learn about how these and other chemicals can affect our long term health. The EPA has developed a recommended action plan for all companies to take to avoid exposure until studies are completed and assurances can be made. The Washington Toxics Coalition also provides good tips and recommendations. There are many alternatives with all of these materials that are considered non-toxic, safe for the environment and for your employees.
If you need help finding non-toxic alternatives please contact us, we would be happy to help.