Harmful forever chemicals like PFAS are found in high levels in children’s school uniforms, according to a new study which is only likely to increase alarm about these worrying substances.
The study, carried out at the University of Notre Dame, found high levels of PFAS on school uniforms sold in North America.
PFAS are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they’re basically impossible to break down. Accumulating PFAS chemicals are toxic. The chemicals have been linked to reduced immunity, asthma, obesity, and neurodevelopmental or behavioral issues. National surveys in the US have regularly reported PFAS in blood samples of children between three and 11 years-old.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently classified PFAS as hazardous, and this new study is an uncomfortable reminder that they continue to linger everywhere, including in places we might never suppose.
In the US, around 20% of public schools have uniform requirements, which means that millions of children are at risk from these toxic compounds.
The researchers looked at 72 textile samples used in children’s school uniforms. They also tested outerwear incuding rain suits, snowsuits, mittens, and accessories such as sweatshirts and hats.