PFAS is a family of chemicals that are used as firefighting foam, non-stick metal coatings for frying pans, paper food packaging, creams and cosmetics, textiles for furniture and outdoor clothing, paints and photography, chrome plating, pesticides and pharmaceuticals in the US and other countries.
Due to its potential for harm, some states have taken steps to regulate its use and warn citizens of the risks. This article breaks down what these chemicals are, how they get into drinking water, and how to stay safe from exposure to it. Follow on for PFAS Contaminated Drinking Water: What You Need To Know.
What is PFAS?
PFAS is a chemical that doesn’t dissolve in water and has been used for decades in non-stick cookware. Recently, there’s been an influx of these chemicals in drinking water and it has been linked to some health issues. The EPA just proposed new drinking water standards that would significantly reduce the concentration of it in drinking water.
How does it get into drinking water?
The United States is still researching the extent of PFAS contamination in drinking water. It’s a chemical compound found in firefighting foams, paints, and many other products, that can be found all over the country due to its use by factories for decades before being phased out with the replacement of these items with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
The Environmental Protection Agency has only recently begun their study on PFAS, but so far have confirmed that many U.S. states are contaminated with the substance.
How do I find out if my tap water has PFAS?
A simple test can be used to determine the PFAS levels in water. A small sample of your drinking water and a PFAS test kit are all that is required. Once the test is completed, compare the results to the EPA’s recommended levels for safe drinking water. If it exceeds the limit, then you will need to find a home remedy for contamination.
What are the health risks of PFAS in drinking water?
PFAS is an abbreviation for polyfluoroalkyl substances and is a chemical compound used in making non-stick pans, carpets, food wrappers, and other products. Polyfluoroalkyl substances are found in firefighting foam that was used at military bases and airports. The compounds have been linked to cancer and other health risks.
Where can I get more information on PFAS and health issues?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a new study that showed PFAS chemicals are contaminating drinking water around the country, and people are exposed to these chemicals in many ways.
One way is through the food we eat. The study says that PFAS can be found in a wide variety of food products, including some canned cat or dog food. Additionally, there have been concerns raised over the safety of cosmetic products containing PFOS or PFOA.
How did we get here with the unregulated use of PFAS in the first place?
PFAS is a group of man-made chemicals that were used in manufacturing. They are incredibly useful because they can create flame retardants, stain resistant materials, and water repellent paints.
These chemicals were also found to be present in the drinking water in some of the most populated areas such as New York City and Washington D.C. This is because these chemicals have been so broadly used that their levels have accumulated over long periods of time.
The EPA has found that the drinking water in many communities is contaminated with PFAS. It is linked to cancer and non-reproductive health effects. Researchers are still not sure how this chemical could end up in our drinking water.