PFAs and Water
Over the past century or so, science has progressed at an astounding rate, and this has led to amazing discoveries and advancement in technology. One downside of this exponential growth of knowledge, however, is that we’ve sometimes plunged ahead too quickly, using chemicals and compounds that we didn’t fully understand. When we look at substances like radium, which was once touted as healthful but is now known to be extremely dangerous, we might shake our heads at the naivete of people in the last century. However, we’re still making mistakes like that, to this day. One example is the presence of elevated levels of PFAS in water, people, wildlife, and fish.
What is meant by PFAS?
PFAS is an abbreviation for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, manmade “forever chemicals” used in numerous products, across a wide range of industries. They’re considered dangerous to human health by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has set a Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for safe PFAS consumption. It’s estimated that 16 million people in the United States have experienced drinking water with elevated levels of PFAS, and it’s no wonder. In use since the 1940s, PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals used to make items like fast food wrappers, popcorn bags, non-stick pans, pizza boxes, clothing, and even cosmetics water repellent. PFAS are also found in fire-fighting foam, and some of the highest concentrations of PFAS in waterways occur where firefighters are trained or practice. Because the foam is sprayed on surfaces at military bases and airports during training exercises, then left to wash away, it ends up polluting nearby water sources. What are PFAS in water likely to do, when they have been created to repel water, oil, and stains without breaking down quickly? They will remain in the water until they are removed.
The two most commonly produced PFAS are perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), but there are over 4,000 different PFAS, and many of them are not entirely understood. Most are no longer manufactured, but the permanence of these chemicals is such that PFAS are being increasingly found where they don’t belong. There’s little consensus on “safe” levels of PFAS, and there are currently no federal standards for PFAS in public water supplies, though states do set their own guidelines to control these levels.
PFAS in drinking water pose a threat to human health.
Exposure to high levels of PFAS can cause myriad problems, including increased cholesterol levels, changes in liver function, disruptions to hormonal balance, increased risk of thyroid disease, diminished odds of conception, high blood pressure or eclampsia during pregnancy, and decrease in infant birth weights. They can also decrease children’s response to vaccine, and people who drink water with high levels of PFAS are at an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers. You can be tested, if you’d like, with a blood test that indicates PFAS exposure, but there is not a test to measure the level of that exposure or your risk of adverse effects.
If you are on a municipal water supply, you can find out the levels of PFAS in water you’re using, because water suppliers are required to test the levels. If you have a private well, or you get your water from a spring, you can have the water tested. No matter where you source your water, you can have the water within your home analyzed for PFAS levels and other types of contamination. When a public water supply is found to have high PFAS levels, the response is to use water treatment solutions to love the levels and make the water safe to drink. Within your home, you can apply another layer of protection by installing a water filtration system.
Once you’ve had your water analyzed, you can use in-home water treatment to clean your water and rid it of contaminants. These filtration systems are effective at reducing PFAS levels in drinking water whether installed as point-of-use units like purifiers at individual sinks or point-of-entry solutions like a whole home water filtration system. At Kinetico, our water treatment solutions use cutting edge technology to address the serious environmental issue of PFAS contamination, and our systems are considered the gold standard of water filtration. They go above and beyond, removing not only PFAS chemicals but also other contaminants, including viruses and bacteria. Trusting your home to a Kinetico water filtration system can give you the comfort of knowing that your water supply is safe, and your family’s drinking water is healthful and pure.
If you’re ready to remove PFAS and other contaminants from your water, we can help you find exactly the right solution for you. For a free water analysis and consultation, trust Kinetico Quality Water to test your water and help develop a treatment plan. Kinetico is Phoenix, Arizona’s local source for water treatment, providing the cleanest, greenest, most efficient water systems ever made. We understand the challenges in the Valley of the Sun, and our systems use less water than traditional water softeners. What’s more, we stand behind our products with the most comprehensive warranty coverage in the industry. Call or contact us for a free quote.