The Ugly Truth About PFAS: What are Forever Chemicals and How to Test for Them
Mar 18, 2023
Forever chemicals, or PFAS, are making headlines for their environmental and human health impacts. But what really are these “forever” chemicals? How can you test for them? And what action should you take if they are present in your environment? Read on to find out the truth about PFAS and how to protect you and your family from their harmful effects.
In this article you’ll learn:
- What are PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)?
- How does PFAS impact the environment and human health?
- How can you test for PFAS in your drinking water?
- What action should you take if your water tests positive for PFAS?
- Which water filtration systems will remove PFAS.
- Tips on how to protect yourself and your family from PFAS.
- How to stay up-to-date on the latest news related to PFAS.
What are PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)?
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that includes both long-chain and short-chain compounds. These chemicals are used in a variety of products, from non-stick cookware to firefighting foam. Due to their stability and durability, PFAS can remain in the environment for many years without degrading according to the EPA.
How Does PFAS Impact The Environment and Human Health?
The presence of PFAS in the environment has been linked to a number of negative effects. These include potential damage to the liver, thyroid, endocrine system, and reproductive system. PFAS have also been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer and birth defects in humans. In addition, environmental exposures to these chemicals can contaminate both water and soil, negatively impacting aquatic life and other organisms in the environment.
How Can You Test For PFAS in Your Drinking Water?
If you’re concerned about PFAS in your drinking water, the best way to know for sure is to get it tested. You can purchase a home water testing kit from a reputable company that will test for various types of contaminants, including PFAS. Keep in mind that these kits may not detect all of the PFAS compounds that could be present.
For more accurate results, you may want to contact a certified water testing laboratory that can provide detailed analysis of your water sample.
What Action Should You Take If Your Water Tests Positive for PFAS?
If your water tests positive for PFAS, it’s important to determine the source of contamination and take steps to reduce or eliminate your exposure. You should also contact your local water authority to report the issue. In some cases, it may be possible to treat the water in order to remove PFAS from it.
Which Water Filtration Systems Will Remove PFAS?
The best way to protect yourself and your family from PFAS is to use a water filtration system that is specifically designed to remove them, says Ava Martin, a water filtration expert over at Qualitywaterlab.com.
Ava mentions that there are a variety of systems available, ranging from whole house filters to reverse osmosis, and filter pitchers that are designed to safely remove PFAS for all budgets. When selecting a water filter, make sure it has been certified by an independent testing organization or the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) to remove PFAS.
(RO) systems are one of the most effective types of filtration for removing PFAS from drinking water. RO systems use a semipermeable membrane to remove contaminants, including PFAS, from your tap water.
These types of systems are the best at removing over 99% of contaminants from your water. However, you’re limited to one tap source. Whole-home RO systems are just too expensive to justify the costs.
Whole House Water Filtration Systems
A whole home filtration system is another great option for removing PFAS from your drinking water. These systems filter all of the water coming into your home, which is beneficial if you want to eliminate PFAS from every tap source in your home.
Filter pitchers can also be effective for reducing PFAS levels in your drinking water. These pitchers use activated carbon filters to remove contaminants, including PFAS. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure that the filter is rated to remove PFAS or other specific contaminants.
Tips on how to protect yourself and your family from PFAS
To reduce your exposure to PFAS, there are a few steps you can take. These include:
- Limiting the amount of packaged and processed foods you consume; many of these products contain PFAS.
- Avoiding the use of non-stick cookware, which often contains PFAS compounds.
- Avoiding the use of stain-resistant and waterproof products, which may contain PFAS.
- Purchasing a water filtration system for your home that is certified to remove PFAS compounds.
- Monitoring areas near military bases or industrial sites where PFAS might be present in the soil or groundwater.
Taking steps to reduce your exposure
Reducing your exposure to PFAS is an important part of protecting your family’s health. By taking these precautions, you can help to ensure that the water in your home is safe and free from contaminants.
While PFAS have been linked to a variety of health problems, it is possible to reduce your exposure by using water filtration systems that are certified to remove them. Testing your drinking water for PFAS and taking steps to limit the amount of processed and packaged foods you consume can also help protect yourself and your family from these harmful compounds.
Remember, if you have any questions about PFAS or your water quality, it’s important to contact your local water authority for more information.