If “forever chemicals” are non-reactive, how are they toxic?

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If “forever chemicals” are non-reactive, how are they toxic?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not that they aren’t reactive per se. It’s that they don’t break down (or do so extremely slowly) under ordinary natural conditions.

As an example, CFCs and the like are terrible for the atmosphere because they act as *catalysts* for reactions that break down ozone. Catalysts are chemicals that speed up or help along a reaction, but which don’t get *consumed* by that reaction.

PFAS and PFOA are dangerous because they suppress immune response (amongst other things) without being broken down by our bodies’ metabolisms. Many compounds can have biochemical effects without needing to be *consumed* by our cells. For example, most neurotransmitters are recycled by our cells, so we don’t have to spend as much energy and material making brand new ones.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We don’t know for sure the exact way they cause harm, but the leadibg theory is that they take the place of similar molecules like fatty acids, therefore reducing the available chemicals that you need. Alternatively, they hust end up 8n places they dont need to be and get in the way.

Minute Earth made a good video on the topic I recommend watching that explains what they are and how they work in more detail.