Harmful Substances Found In Vacuum Cleaner Bags
A few years ago a Swedish chemist performed some controlled tests on vacuum cleaner dust bags from around the world investigating the presence of harmful substances. The surprise results revealed that one of the most toxic dust bags was the one she had at her own home!
The test results concluded that despite national and international regulations, we continue to be subjected to PFAS contamination. PFAS is an abbreviation for Per- and Poly- Fluoro Alkyl substances which are actually human made compounds.
In fact it is human innovation that has come up with these chemicals -- not nature. PFAS substances have been used in the production of various products since the 1950s. It's a water repellent and also repels fats and oils. It's been used in the manufacture of make-up, Teflon pans as well as impregnated textiles.
Modern research has shown that these substances don't readily decompose and can be harmful. Several countries have taken measures to reduce their use and the environment agency of Norway mentions via miljøstatus.no. that some PFAS compounds have been regulated or banned.
The toxic substances accumulate primarily in the liver and in the bloodstream and they can disrupt hormones and can damage the liver. They can also have an impact on the immune system and are also suspected carcinogens.
The controlled tests focused mainly on PFAS sub-group PAP, which are poly-fluoro-alkyl phosphate esters. PAP can be found present in disposable cups, pizza boxes, hygiene articles, cleaning products and dyes. These compounds degrade readily to form persistent PFAS substances.
Samples were taken from sewage water in Sweden and sludge from water purification plants as well as from kestrel eggs, tawny owls and ospreys. Additionally human blood samples from Australia and the content of vacuum cleaner bags in Europe, North America and Oceania.
Relatively large amounts of PAP have been found in dust, sludge and waste water. PAP was the cause of at least half the total amounts of PFAS compounds in these samples. If you do not additionally examine the subgroups you can be fooled into thinking this is not so serious.
It is surprising that the share of PAP was so high in dust and sludge and that materials found came from all the continents examined.
The Norwegian Environment Agency has stated via its website miljøstatus.no that Norwegian factories do not produce any PFAS substances.
The agency had a plan of action against PFAS for the period 2016-2018 stating that their knowledge of the use, discharges and effects of these substances was insufficient.
They stated that they had ongoing contacts with research circles and have worked with the European Union and other international forums about substances and areas of usage where there are risk concerns so that they are able to properly target their efforts.
PFAS consists of numerous compounds and at this time those banned by Norway are PFOS, PFOA and long-chain perfluorinated acids. These compounds are priority listed by the authorities and the stated goal is to cease all emissions of these compunds by 2020. These same elements are classified by the EU as dangerous contaminants.
In 2007 the Norwegian environmental authorities banned the use of PFOS for fire extinguishing foams as well as for textiles and waterproofing products. Airports and other areas that have been used for firefighting drills have been instructed to clean up any PFOS contaminations.
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