Drinking Water

PFAS, Forever Chemicals, and Our Drinking Water

First, what are PFAS? PFAS, also known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals that have been around for decades. They were developed and manufactured by companies like 3M, Bayer, and Honeywell, among others. PFAS were very useful because they helped created non-stick frying pans, firefighting foams, and water-repellant clothing, so manufacturers kept using PFAS even though they were aware PFAS could harm our health. 

So far, research has linked, but not 100% confirmed, PFAS to more than a few health concerns, which include:

  • Increase in cholesterol
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Slight decreases in birth weights
  • Lower anti-body response to vaccines
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Kidney and testicular cancer

PFAS are part of the "Forever Chemicals" category because these chemicals resist breaking down. This means PFAS stay around in the environment for long after their usefulness. However, the real problem today is that PFAS have now spread into our air, water, and soil.

And yes, scientists have tested and found PFAS in our drinking water. It's also in our food when fish or livestock consume the chemicals in the water or in their feed. Once humans consume PFAS, the chemicals start to build up in our system even if a very small amount was consumed each time. 

There's good news though. Earlier this month, the White House finalized strict limits on our nation's drinking water. Water providers argue that the new limits will require new treatment facilities, which will be a large cost passed onto the consumer, but experts claim the health benefits will be worth it. 

We're happy to hear about this new limit and that changes will be on their way. It's scary to think that harmful plastics and chemicals can enter our bodies just from drinking water. Water is a crucial element to our health and we should feel safe when we drink it. 


Here are a few more articles to read if you're interested in learning more:

  • https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html
  • https://apnews.com/article/forever-chemicals-pfas-pollution-epa-drinking-water-1c8804288413a73bb7b99fc866c8fa51
  • https://apnews.com/article/forever-chemicals-pfas-pollution-epa-drinking-water-517ce0049ffbd2931157da4970992f05
  • https://www.usgs.gov/news/national-news-release/tap-water-study-detects-pfas-forever-chemicals-across-us
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/08/climate/pfas-forever-chemicals-water.html
  • https://chemsec.org/reports/the-top-12-pfas-producers-in-the-world-and-the-staggering-societal-costs-of-pfas-pollution/
  • https://www.epa.gov/pfas/our-current-understanding-human-health-and-environmental-risks-pfas
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