PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1940s. Some of the more common commercial applications have been for products like Teflon, stain & water–resistant materials, paints, polishes, fire fighting foams (a major source of ground water pollution near airports, military bases and fire fighting training centers). These chemicals are being detected at dangerous levels in drinking water supplies around the country. (For removal of PFAS from water, see section below, “REMOVAL OF PFAS”).
PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals do not break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. As a result, these chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States, but are still made in other countries and may be contained in products imported into the U.S.
HEALTH AFFECTS OF PFAS
There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. If humans or animals ingest it (by eating or drinking food or water), they are absorbed and can accumulate in the body. PFAS stay in the human body for long periods of time. As a result, as people get exposed from different sources over time, the level in their bodies may increase to the point where they suffer from adverse health effects.
Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animal studies. The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to infant birth weights and:
REMOVAL OF PFAS
There are technologies effective in removing PFAS from drinking water, especially Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which are the most studied of these chemicals. The two most common technologies include activated carbon adsorption and reverse osmosis. For carbon filtration tested to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 53, see link at: PFAS Point of Entry Removal. This system will also remove lead and many other potential contaminants, as well as bad taste & odors in the water.
Reverse Osmosis, Point of Use System
This membrane based technology can be installed at a point-of-use such as a separate faucet at a kitchen sink, or installed in the basement below running a line up to the faucet. Highly effective at removing PFAS from drinking water. See http://reverse-osmosis-water-purification.
Note: see https://www.epa.gov/pfas for more detailed information.