What consumers can do as regulators weigh compounds' risks

In this June 17, 2019 photo in Washington, a label states that these pans do not contain PFAS. For consumers, the health information that state and local governments and industry are releasing about a family of nonstick and stain-resistant compounds _ known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS _ can be a lot like the label messages on those pots and pans: a confusing mix of reassurances and alarm. (AP Photo/Ellen Knickmeyer)

WASHINGTON — The government is trying to sort out how to handle health risks from a group of widely used nonstick and stain-resistant compounds.

But scientists say there are many steps people can take to minimize their exposure to the manmade industrial compounds known as PFAS.

Some changes are easier than others, such as checking on the safety of your drinking water or buying different pots and pans. Others might mean skipping fast food or other takeout because of the packaging containers.

PFAS are used in products including nonstick cookware, but also in stain- and steam-resistant bags for microwave popcorn and many other food containers and packaging, shaving cream, dental floss, stain protection for fabrics and rugs and outdoor garb — for starters.

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