PFAS: How Climate Change Could Worsen the ‘Forever Chemical’ Crisis

This class of chemicals lead to a slew of negative health effects, and never break down. Could climate change worsen their impacts?

Source: Michigan DEQ

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals used in nonstick pans, food packaging, cosmetics, textiles, firefighting foam, and more common products. Unfortunately, PFAS has terrifying health effects such as liver damage, immune system damage, and even cancer. And to make matters worse, (1) PFAS doesn’t break down, (2) 95% of Americans have already been exposed to PFAS, and (3) climate change could make the PFAS crisis even worse. Today, we discuss what PFAS is, what problems it presents, and how we could address those problems moving forward. With special guest Dr. Cheryl Murphy: Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Director for the Center for PFAS Research at Michigan State University.

The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at

Support the show and unlock exclusive merch, bonus content, and more for as little as $5/month at


Like it? Share with your friends!

The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


Leave a Reply