Underwear stacked on top of each other

Why You Should Opt for PFAS-Free Underwear

All about why you should get PFAS-free underwear

PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, are almost everywhere, literally. Imagine your favorite waterproof jacket or that non-stick pan in your kitchen – chances are, they have PFAS. In fact, it’s even reported that PFAS can be found in our food

But more importantly, for your precious family jewels in particular, PFAS can be found in your underwear depending on the materials they are made of, particularly if they’re made of synthetic fibers. 

This is a huge deal, because PFAS can be absorbed through your skin, as well as cause irritation through contact. Just imagine those microplastics and toxic chemicals finding their way up your most delicate parts. That’s a horror movie. Which is why you’re doing the right thing for your health by learning more about PFAS in your underwear. 

So today, let’s talk about PFAS. We’ll explore what it is, what it’s good for, and why it’s harmful especially when they’re found in your underwear. Plus, we’ll talk about how you can find PFAS-free underwear, such as choosing natural fabrics like modal which does not have PFAS. 

 

What are PFAS?

Let’s get to the science of it first. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, commonly known as PFAS, are synthetic chemicals for various industrial and consumer use. They were first patented in the 1930s and began seeing wide adoption through the 40s and the 50s

At first, due to their resistance to water and oil, they were actually celebrated as miracle chemicals. These substances are made up of carbon and fluorine atoms, forming a strong bond that gives them their unique properties that repel liquids. They eventually made their way down to all sorts of household products, from cookware to clothing and electronics. 

Eventually, PFAS spread everywhere in consumer products. Chances are, you probably have PFAS all over your home right now, or even wearing PFAS. 

Here are some common consumer applications of PFAS: 

  • Non-Stick cookware
  • Water-Repellent fabrics
  • Firefighting foam
  • Moisture protection for electronics
  • Grease and water resistant food packaging

 

Why PFAS can be harmful 

Here’s the thing about PFAS. The chemical’s strong bond means that they don’t break down easily, and they stick around in the environment for a long time. Which means over time PFAS levels accumulate. 

This wouldn’t be a problem if PFAS was just a benign chemical, but research suggests that it can be very harmful to the environment. 

Studies with animals have found that PFAS can cause damage to the liver and the immune system as well as cause birth defects and even death in newborn animals. 

So if you have enough PFAS in your system, you may be subject to various health risks such as: 

  • Decreased fertility
  • Developmental defects or delays in children
  • Increased cancer risk 
  • Weakening of your immune system 
  • Disrupt your body’s hormones. 

Now that we know about what PFAS is and why it’s bad for us, let’s get a little deeper into why it matters particularly for your underwear. 

 

PFAS in Your Underwear: Why It Matters

How PFAS gets into clothing  

As we said, PFAS are in your clothing, specifically when they’re used for the following applications: 

  1. Waterproofing: Clothing items such as jackets, outdoor gear, and activewear may undergo treatments with PFAS. 
  1. Stain-Resistance: Clothing may undergo PFAS treatment in order to make it resistant to stains of various kinds, such as grease or other substances. 
  1. Fire-resistance: Though this definitely does not apply to underwear (unless you’re in the circus or something), PFAS compounds may be used in the production of flame-resistant clothing. This is mostly for the firemen to worry about. 

In the case of underwear, in order to make them resistant to water and stains, there may be PFAS added as protection. 

Now, this may not be a problem if PFAS doesn’t get absorbed through the skin, and this is something that’s still unknown and needs further research. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re completely in the clear. Let’s take a closer look at what wearing underwear with PFAS can do to your body. 

Implications of Wearing Underwear with PFAS 

Skin Absorption 

Can PFAS be absorbed through the skin? We’ve already mentioned that this is still not a settled debate. But there are studies that suggest that skin absorption is as dangerous as ingesting it. So despite the uncertainty, when it comes to your little pals down there, maybe it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Hormone Disruption

We know that PFAS disrupts your hormones. With underwear, this is even more of a concern because your testicles are one of the most important organs for the release of male hormones, particularly testosterone. And guess what touches your testicles directly the most (except your hand). That’s right, your underwear. 

Skin Irritation

PFAS is a synthetic chemical, and like many others, it has the potential to harm your skin. Especially for people with sensitive skin, PFAS underwear can cause serious irritation and while this isn’t a direct health risk, it could cause a lot of discomfort. And you definitely don’t want discomfort down there.

Prolonged Exposure 

Like every other bad thing in the world, it’s not about whether it’s there or not. It’s about how much and for how long. Your underwear stays on your balls every day, all day long, all the time. And because PFAS does not break down easily and stays, that long-term exposure could potentially accumulate to becoming a bigger problem. 

Washing and Release of PFA 

But the greatest problem that PFAS may have is that the chemical can get released during washing. This means from your underwear, there will be PFAS flowing into the water sources. Your underwear could literally be destroying the environment. You don’t want that. 

 

How to Identify PFA-Free Underwear

As of now, regulations have fallen short when it comes to controlling the amount of PFAS in our clothing. Which is why it is up to us in order to protect ourselves from PFAS by taking a magnifying lens into our underwear. 

Identifying PFA-free clothing may require a bit of effort, but there are several strategies you can employ to make more informed choices:

1. Read Labels and Product Information:

First and foremost, you should check the labels and product information for any mention of specific PFA compounds, such as PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonate) or PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid). 

2. Choose Natural Fibers:

Opt for clothing made from natural fibers like cotton, modal, wool, hemp, or bamboo, which are non-toxic. These are less likely to be treated with PFAS, especially for those that naturally have resistance to moisture. 

3. Avoid water-repellent or stain-resistant underwear: 

Underwear that advertises themselves as resistant to water and stains may have had treatments that involve PFAS. 

4. Research Brands and Manufacturers:

Take a closer look at the practices of clothing brands and manufacturers. Some companies are committed to producing PFAS-free or environmentally conscious clothing and may provide information on their websites.

Also, look for brands that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly manufacturing practices. These brands are less likely to use fabric treated with PFAS since the use of PFAS would  literally be the opposite of eco-friendliness. 

5. Explore Eco-Certifications

Consider clothing with eco-certifications that focus on environmentally friendly and non-toxic production processes. Top certifications include GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard). Certifications like OEKO-TEX Standard 100 or Bluesign are also reliable indicators to follow. 

There are also More general labels such as B Corp certification and 1% for the Planet could also be good indicators, since brands that adhere to such standards are more likely to also practice sustainability in their processes. 

Eco-certifications for finding PFAS-free underwear for men

6. Contact Manufacturers or Retailers:

If you're unsure about a specific product, reach out to the manufacturer or retailer directly. They may be able to provide information on whether PFA was used in the production of the clothing.

7. Stay Informed:

PFAS research is still ongoing and it is likely that we’ll discover much more about the full effects of this chemical. So stay updated on emerging research and news regarding PFAS in clothing. As awareness grows, more brands may adopt PFA-free practices, and new alternatives may become available.

8. Read Community and User Reviews:

Explore user reviews and community discussions online. Other consumers may share information about specific brands or products that are PFA-free.

Pick Manmade 

If you want to avoid the headache of trying to search through the internet for a great feeling underwear that is also PFAS free, Manmade underwear uses modal fabric, a natural fiber. Plus we make sure that the little bit of spandex we use does not contain any PFAS. Manmade is the perfect nontoxic underwear that is durable, soft, and moisture-wicking. 

 

Keep calm and watch out for PFAS

Now, before you whip your underwear off and throw it far away in terror, It's important to note that the concentration of PFAS in clothing may vary depending on the type of treatment, manufacturing processes, and the specific PFA compounds used. Quite a few studies have raised concerns, but that doesn’t mean the science around PFAS is conclusive. There is still much that we don’t know. You don’t have to throw out everything you own that has PFAS right this instant. 

But, the risks are still there, and in order to reduce these risks, it might be a good idea to transition gradually into PFAS-free underwears because that touches one of your most sensitive and critical (and fun) body parts every day all the time. Unless you’re going commando, which has its own problems, your underwear could be the most significant source of exposure to PFAS. 

So stay informed about PFAS, reduce your risk of exposure by finding PFAS-free underwear, and keep those gonads of yours healthy. 

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