The Dangers of PFAS- The harmful chemical compounds making their way into our drinking water.
Sep 06, 2023
What is PFAS?PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are long-lasting chemicals used in manufacturing, food processing, agricultural products, and more.
Because of their persistent use (prior to major regulation) and their long-lasting properties, many PFAS chemicals have found their way into the bloodstreams of humans and animals - with negative health consequences.
The continued use of PFAS in everyday goods (thanks to loop holes with overseas production and importing) and agriculture means we are STILL being exposed to these ‘forever chemicals’.
How are they getting into our water and food?
PFAS, specifically in agricultural and horticultural practices, often finds its way into our bodies through the water we drink and food we consume. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe”.
How you may ask? Here are two common examples:
- Many pesticides and fertilizer products contain PFAS compounds. Runoff from crops sprayed with these substances make their way to local bodies of water and other drinking water sources - contaminating the water we’re meant to consume.
- The water livestock is given can contain high levels of PFAS and as they drink the water the chemicals may enter their bloodstream. When we go to consume pork, beef or chicken, months or even years later, we then involuntarily inherit those chemicals.
Drinking water is the number one source of exposure to these harmful compounds with more than half of tap water containing traces of PFAS. The EPA and state-wide environmental bodies tests for these chemicals, and up to a certain threshold, can allow people to drink the water despite finding the PFAS compounds.
More often than not, if a presence is detected but doesn’t meet the maximum, consumers will still have no idea there’s PFAS in their water at all.
How can we limit our consumption/contact with the substance?
“On June 15, 2022, the United States EPA made a health advisory (HAL) announcement with a new number for PFAS. HALs are non-enforceable; rather, they provide technical information that guides the officials to develop monitoring plans, determine treatment solutions, and create policies. The EPA has not yet stopped polluters from discharging PFAS, but they plan to set an enforceable limit (MCL—maximum contaminant level) by the end of 2023.”
With regulatory agencies still unable to create enforceable limitations for those freely disposing of or selling products that contain PFAS, it’s up to us to protect ourselves, family and friends.
Here are many ways you can limit your exposure to PFAS and other hazardous substances like arsenic, lead, etc:
- Stay away from waterproof /stain-resistant textiles and clothing that contain PFAS
- Stop using PFAS-containing food-contact materials such as take-out containers
- TIP: transfer food out of packaging as soon as you get it. Avoid reheating food in takeout containers, because both heat and time increase the likelihood of PFAS transferring from wrappers to food.
- Avoid microwave popcorn which relies on PFAS to create the nonstick surface inside the bag
- Most nonstick cookware is made with PTFE, a type of PFAS, and should be avoided
Avoiding water-resistant products and products with PTFE or “fluoro-” in the ingredients can help limit exposure; the Environmental Working Group database identifies which shampoos, dental floss, makeup, and other personal-care products do and do not contain PFAS
For more information and ways to limit your exposure, view the entire list from Green Bay Water.
How VeriPure can help
Our new, inline filter systems can help reduce your exposure to fluoride, lead, chlorine, cyst, rust and other contaminants, and can also help remove unpleasant tasting or foul smelling water. The inline filter options include Carbon Block, GAC (granular activated carbon), fluoride and sediment filters.
For PFAS, both Carbon Block and GAC (granular activated carbon) have been shown to remove and reduce PFAS to safe levels. We’re currently in the process of independently testing our new inline filters to ensure PFAS is removed from your water while still offering an affordable solution to keep family’s drinking water safe.
At VeriPure, we’re committed to providing water purification solutions at reasonable prices so every home and business can have access to safe drinking water.