What’s up with PFAS: Why Repurpose Uses No Added PFAS

Author:  Lauren Plug

Why We’re PFAS free & How You Can Reduce Your Exposure

a large amount of eggs easily lifting up to be flipped in a frying pan with using a wooden spoon
Klaus Nielsen/Pexels 

PFAS have been all over the news lately! 

(P.S. that’s pronounced Pee-fahs for the next time you want to bring it up at a party). 

  • The EPA has officially classified PFAS as hazardous which will require companies to report spills/leaks and help pay to ‘clean up’ existing contamination. 
  • The EPA has also announced regulations for PFAS in drinking water. It will require water facilities to test for 6 different kinds of PFAS in drinking water. 
  • France passed a bill to ban the manufacture, import, or sale of PFAS in certain industries/products (cosmetics, wax for skis, and most clothing textiles). 

We love to see this awful chemical get the criticism and (dis)respect it deserves. Especially since to this day, there are conventional big-named companies selling paper plates that contain PFAS 😱— because traditionally, it’s what made them water and grease-proof. 

But we don’t think convenience should come at the expense of your health and safety. 

We’ve proven that creating safe, PFAS-free products is possible even for a small business! And while you can’t avoid PFAS 100%, you can reduce the amount you're exposed to by choosing PFAS-free brands whenever possible.  

We also believe you shouldn’t have to read the material label like you’re figuring out your next challenge in the Triwizard Tournament — which is why we were the first company not only to eliminate, but replace toxic PFAS chemicals with an effective, renewable, bio-based polymer. 

We’re thrilled PFAS are in the news today, but we know it probably won’t stay like that. Let’s talk all about them so you can shut down any party come back to this whenever you need to.

Repurpose is a 100% PFAS-free brand

We’ve always been in the business of plants over plastic and convenient products that are safe for the planet (re: compostable) for a while. 

Many compostable products are made of molded fiber (recycled natural fibers like paper), ours included. What isn’t as commonly known is that even eco-friendly and/or compostable products can be made with PFAS to create that barrier that can be bragged about on TV which prevents liquids from seeping through. 

Even before PFAS graced the cover of major media outlets that didn’t sit right with us — so we reevaluated our suppliers and supply chain to remove it for good. 

And we never looked back! Especially since the effects of PFAS have been known since the 1950s and 60s!. 

What Are PFAS & What Are They Used For

A person standing in the rain at the edge of a lake bordered by a mountain with an umbrella and wearing waterproof clothing
Imad Clicks/Pexels 

PFAS are not a type of plastic. 

They are a type of synthetic chemical that includes a group of over 4,000 chemicals (PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, etc) that were originally created to make product coatings, create heat resistance, and prevent stains, water, and grease from getting on stuff. 

PFAS are used to manufacture what feels like all the products we use everyday. In fact, the University of Notre Dame recently found a variety of consumer products that tested positive for high levels of PFAS.

This includes things like: 

  • Non-stick cookware (Teflon — check out this doc from 2018)
  • Water & stain resistant clothing & furniture
  • Most outdoor and camping gear
  • Foam used for firefighting
  • Fast food packages and wrapping
  • Cosmetics (like eye makeup) & cosmetic packaging 
  • Shampoo
  • Dental floss
  • Cleaning products
  • Paint and varnish
  • Pizza boxes! 
  • Popcorn bags
  • Carpet 
  • The insulation of electrical wire
  • Plastic cleaning product containers
  • And truly, the list goes. 

You’ve got bills to pay and groceries to buy, you can’t be expected to know the name of every toxic chemical! But PFAS are worth knowing about for one major reason: their nickname is “forever chemical.” *cue ominous music*

The Forever Chemical Of It All

Sea spray viewed through a stone hill during the daytime with the blue ocean in the background
Anastasiia/Pexels

PFAS and its buddies have earned the nickname of ‘forever chemicals’ for obvious reasons.

  • Once they enter the environment (or our bodies) they’re nearly impossible to remove.
  • They take thousands of years to break down (we think — they were developed only 80 years ago). 

The scary part is that much like microplastics (our other arch nemesis) PFAS have been found everywhere:

  • The air
  • The soil
  • The groundwater
  • Drinking water
  • 3,000 feet deep in the ocean
  • In sea spray
  • Throughout the food chain
  • And even in our blood.

Unfortunately, there are going to be brands that choose to mislead instead of putting in the work. This is why we believe transparency is key and why we all need to be on the lookout for greenwashing. 

PFAS Greenwashing: PFOA-free Does Not Mean PFAS-free

One of the common cases of greenwashing we see around PFAS is the PFOA of it all. It’s fairly common to see brands advertise "PFOA-free" or "PFOS-free” (especially in the cookware industry). 

It’s meant to make you think it’s PFAS-free give you a false sense of security. But it’s kind of a lie.

Like we mentioned earlier,  PFAS is a large group of chemicals. By narrowing in and calling out a few sub-types, these labels imply that they're entirely PFAS-free, when they might still be using other less-recognized PFAS alternatives.

We don’t like lying but even worse, this greenwashing tactic can have serious consequences. Since PFAS chemicals hang around for a while (hello forever chemicals), even small amounts can accumulate and potentially lead to health problems. 

Health Effects of PFAS for Humans

Because PFAS breaks down so slowly (if it all) it leaves plenty of room for them to build up in our bodies and in the environment. As with anything — tartar, fat, plastic — buildup is not so good. 

Additionally it’s important to note that because there are literally thousands of PFAS it makes it difficult to study. The NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) is currently studying the human health effects of exposure to PFAS. This is what they’ve found (so far).

Exposure to PFAS can cause:

  • Higher baseline PFAS concentrations can be associated with more weight gain, especially in women. It’s possible PFAS plays a role in the current obesity epidemic.
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Reproductive issues
  • Increased risk of some cancers (based on exposure) including: kidney cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, ovarian and endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, non-hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, childhood leukemia. 
  • Immunosuppression (reduced ability of the immune system)
  • Delayed onset of puberty in girls
  • Decreased bone mineral density in adolescents
  • Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in women
  • Liver damage (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)

Environmental Effects of PFAS

Most things that affect the environment negatively also affect humans. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, PFAS are found throughout the environment and all around the world. 

They’re not only harmful to humans but birds, insects, pollinators, wildlife, plants, aquatic animals, and every living thing on Earth.


PFAS can end up in our drinking water from: 

  • Rivers and lakes — which affects all plants, animals, and people using it as a water source.
  • Surface water & groundwater — PFAS move easily through the soil and can travel long distances to contaminate wells. 
  • Wastewater and sludge — which gets deposited into the environment or cleaned to go back into the water source.
  • Air sediment — which gets picked up then deposited to water and soil from rain, snow, and wind.
  • Soil sediment — not only can PFAS travel through soil, they will affect the microorganisms within the soil, and contaminate any food or plant that is grown in the soil.
  • PFAS have been found 3,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, in areas uncontacted for 50+ years — which means they travel quickly and efficiently. 

So How Can You Avoid Forever Chemicals

To be totally transparent with you, you can’t avoid PFAS completely. They’re already in our products, our drinking water, the environment, and the food stream. This is pretty discouraging but there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged! 

  • Progress is happening! New laws and bans are categorizing PFAS as dangerous, and water facilities will soon test and filter for specific types.
  • Public awareness is growing! The chemical industry has lost the fight against regulations, paving the way for a safer future. Public awareness is crucial for change.
  • Your choices matter! You can’t completely eliminate your exposure, otherwise you’d live in a bubble and we know from the movies that doesn’t end well. But you can reduce the amount you're exposed to by choosing PFAS-free brands whenever possible.

We, along with many other brands, are committed to being PFAS-free, preventing new contamination. Our focus is on creating sustainable, PFAS-free compostable products that don’t add more toxins to your life or the environment.


Taking Action

Remember, you don't have to be perfect to make a positive impact. Start by picking one product, brand, or habit to make a conscious PFAS-free choice. (like setting up a subscription for any of our PFAS-free products!)


Emerging Solutions

Research suggests that a high-fiber diet and folate intake might help mitigate some health risks associated with PFAS. As science continues to explore, and people continue to care, new solutions will be found.


We're All In This Together

While the challenge is real, we can all take action to reduce our exposure. By supporting us you’re helping fund the research and the development of even more safe and convenient products. 

Repurpose will always remain PFAS, human & environmental toxin-free

Developing PFAS-free alternatives wasn't a walk in the park, but it was a crucial step we knew we had to take. For you and for us. As a smaller company, we're proof that high-quality, PFAS-free products are possible! 

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