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OSU Extension offers workshop for people who want to learn about 'forever chemicals' in Tulsa

The workshop will take place at OSU-Tulsa.
Oklahoma State University
The workshop will take place at OSU-Tulsa.

You may have heard of so-called “forever chemicals.” But how much do you know about the uses and health risks associated with PFAS?

PFAS are manmade chemicals that don’t often react with other substances. That makes them useful in waterproof and non-stick materials, but it can throw a wrench in peoples’ body chemistry.

“The reason why it's toxic is the same reason why we need it,” said Oklahoma State University Extension specialist Keima Borsuah.

PFAS have caught the public’s attention in recent years as researchers have uncovered more about the health risks they can pose. Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced tighter regulations on how much is allowed in drinking water.

That’s why OSU Extension is teaming up with environmental consulting firm Trihydro every year to offer a free workshop for people to learn about PFAS. The fourth annual workshop is May 8.

Borsuah says it’s important to let people know how close to home PFAS are — they’re often in things like mascara, nonstick cookware, and microwave popcorn bags. But there are easy ways to limit exposure.

If you have an alternative option, like instead of going for a microwave popcorn, I would say do it the traditional way,” Borsuah said.

Borsuah will speak alongside researchers, state regulators and more at OSU Tulsa on May 8. Anyone wanting to learn more about PFAS can attend in person or stream the workshop online, but they must register first.

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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