Are you concerned about the chemicals that may be present in drinking water? Do you want to learn more about the type of chemicals that may be found in drinking water and how you can avoid them? We cover the answers to these questions below.
What are PFAS Water Contaminants?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS water contaminants are known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and they are man-made chemicals including PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many others. These chemicals have been created and used in various different industries across the United States for approximately 80 years. PFAS and PFOA have been the ones produced in the highest quantities.
These chemicals persist in the human body and the environment, which means they won’t break down and will collect in the body over time. Research also shows that these chemicals may have negative health impacts on humans.
Where Can You Find PFAS?
You’ll find that PFAS are found in food packaging materials, in production industries, household products such as polishes, waxes, cleaning products, and fabrics, in living organisms such as fish and animals, and in drinking water.
According to the State of Rhode Island Department of Health, PFAS have been found in carpets, clothing, paints, and non-stick pans. In addition, firefighters use this chemical in fire-suppressing foam because of their water-repelling properties.
What are PFOA and PFOS Water Contaminants?
PFOS and PFOA are some of the most common chemicals that are part of the PFAS group of chemicals. As previously stated, PFAS was created in the US and worldwide since the 1940s. Please read this article to learn more.
What Makes PFOS and PFOA Different?
Both of these chemicals have eight carbon molecules in their formation. However, they are two different chemicals known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). They are both resistant to water and lipids, which means they do not break down easily. PFOA and PFOS are both being phased out in industrial use since they have been the most studied and include potential risks to human health.
How are People Exposed to these Water Contaminants?
There are many ways that you or your family members may become exposed to PFAS chemicals. For example, you may be exposed through food due to the water used to grow the food or the food packaging used. You can also be exposed during disposal of consumer products or if you work in a PFAS production facility.
Lastly, drinking water is a common place of exposure to the PFAS chemicals. Worst of all, these chemicals have been associated with adverse health effects.
What are the Health Impacts from PFAS Chemicals?
Some evidence shows that PFAS chemicals have negative health effects on humans and animals. Essentially, when humans ingest PFAS chemicals, especially in drinking water over long periods of time, the contaminants are absorbed and accumulate in the human body. If they are in large enough amounts, the chemicals can lead to adverse health impacts such as reproductive and developmental problems.
In addition, these chemicals have shown to cause liver and kidney problems as well as immunological impacts. Animal models have shown cancer growth. Epidemiological studies have found increased cholesterol levels as well as problems in infant birth weight and thyroid hormone disruption from PFOS.
How Can You Remove PFOA and PFOS From Your Drinking Water?
You’ll find that implementing nanofiltration technologies and reverse osmosis systems at your home can make a big impact at removing these chemicals from your drinking water.
Reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange, and activated carbon absorption systems have been found to be the best at removing PFAS from drinking water. For example, the Black Berkey filter cartridges can remove as much as 99.9% of PFOS, PFOA, and other PFAS contaminants from drinking water. So be sure to get yourself the right water filter to remove these chemicals.
What are Some Other Ways to Remove PFAS From Your Environment?
Another great way to keep these contaminants from impacting your environment is to reduce the number of fast-food wrapping you come across. You can do so by cooking more meals at home. You’ll also want to avoid microwave popcorn and using paper plates.
In conclusion, even though there are negative health impacts from these chemicals, you can keep yourself protected by adopting the right water filters for your home and avoiding certain food packaging materials.