Learn How to Protect Yourself from PFAS in Drinking Water!

Imagine human-made chemicals in your drinking water. They resist heat, oil, and stains. They can also last for years and years and live in your water, attacking your health. And the worst part is we haven’t studied these chemicals nearly enough.

These chemicals are called PFAS. PFAS are manufactured chemicals that lurk in the drinking water of 49 states.

We want you to know what contaminants are in your drinking water. That includes the health risks and how to protect yourself and your family from PFAS.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about PFAS in drinking water!

What are PFAS Chemicals?

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are human-made chemicals that were created in the 1930s.

There are nearly 4,700 chemicals that make up the PFAS family. However, the two most common are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

All of these chemicals have linked chains of carbon and fluoride. Because of these chains, they don’t degrade easily. They stick around the human body and environment for a long time. It’s why they’re normally called “forever chemicals.”

A graphic showing perfluorooctanoic acid molecules with conventional color coding.

This is a perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) molecule. Each of the spheres represents a different link. White is hydrogen, gray is carbon, gold is fluorine, and red is oxygen.

 

Where Do PFAS Come From?

PFAS originated in the 1930s as a way to repel grease, oil, and water. Teflon, for example, was a chemical used to repel these things. They can also be found in the flame retardant coating that goes on furniture and carpeting. Other items containing PFAS are:

  • Paper food packaging
  • Stain-proof rugs
  • Waterproofed clothing
  • Floss
  • Cookware

PFAS were manufactured for decades before the health risks became apparent. Since the early 2000s, American companies have phased out PFAS in their products.

But the forever chemicals still stick around, even today.

How Do PFAS Chemicals Get in Drinking Water?

Many industries have produced PFAS for their products over the years. Some of these industries include:

  • Military bases
  • Shoe companies
  • Clothing manufacturers
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Cookware companies

PFAS would get into the drinking water through pollution, chemical runoffs, and landfills. For example, when food packing with PFAS broke down, the chemicals would seep into the groundwater.

And because they don’t degrade or go away, these forever chemicals have been standing the test of time. In fact, it is estimated that today 110 million Americans have drinking water contaminated by PFAS.

What are the Health Risks of PFAS?

PFAS have been linked to many different health risks, including:

  • High cholesterol
  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Thyroid problems
  • Developmental problems
  • Weakened childhood immunity
  • Low birth rate
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Weight gain in children

To prevent the risks of PFAS contamination, you need to get your water tested. Regular checks on your filtration system can also help keep your water clean and healthier.

An image showing a waterproof boot with rain falling off the boot.

PFAS were used in common items such as cookware, waterproof clothes and shoes, and packing as a way to resist oil, water, and grease.

 

What Actions are Taking Place to Prevent PFAS Pollution?

Since the early 2000s, companies have begun phasing out PFAS chemicals. However, a few companies have tried to re-introduce similar chemicals.

The EPA released an action plan in February 2020 detailing how they intend to fight PFAS pollution. This plan included new tests for detecting PFAS in drinking water. It also examines chemicals with four to twelve chain links.

PFOA and PFOS are considered “long-chain chemicals” because they have eight links in their chemical makeup. Some companies have tried to introduce “short-chain chemicals” that reduced it to six.

However, there is still a problem because the chemicals continue to last a long time. Furthermore, PFAS removal from water won’t take an immediate effect.

How Can I Prevent PFAS in Drinking Water?

One of the best ways to prevent PFAS in your drinking water is with a reverse osmosis filter. Using a reverse osmosis filter as a PFAS water filter traps the contaminants. It then forces the water through a membrane and catches the contamination.

Taking the necessary steps to filter out your water gives you an advantage over the harmful PFAS chemicals.

Do You Want to Learn More About PFAS in Drinking Water?

PFAS chemicals are some of the most understudied chemicals attacking our drinking water. There’s still so much more to learn about the harmful effects they can have and how to prevent them.

One of the best ways to prevent PFAS from getting into your drinking water is with a reverse osmosis filter. If you’re interested, click here to learn about our PurAsure 360 Drinking Water System, or give us a call at 847-382-7800!