PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are artificial chemicals formed by fluorine and carbon, a strong bond. PFAS are stable when in water and are difficult to break. According to ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), PFAS can stay in the body for more than four years.
PFAS were made in 1940 as oil, water, stains, grease, and fire repellants. There are roughly five thousand kinds of PFAS, but PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) and PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate) are widely studied and most common in the United States. Though manufacturers ceased to produce these chemicals in 2000, they are still prevalent in the environment due to their use overseas and long half-lives.
Where Can PFAS be Found?
You can find PFAS in different kinds of products because of their repellent properties. Below are some of those products:
- Cleaning products
- Fire-fighting foam
- Microwavable popcorn bags
- Non-stick cooking-utensil
- Pizza boxes
- Stain-resistant furniture and carpets
- Water-resistant clothes
- Wax, polish, and paint
What is the Safe Level of PFAS in Water?
70 PPT (parts per trillion) is the safe amount of PFAS that is acceptable in water according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). That level is the health advisory that EPA set.
Though it is not obligatory by law, the advisory keeps state agencies and public health officials informed. Also, it is set to provide general protection from PFAS exposure by drinking water.
Can PFAS Affect Your Health?
PFAS can cause developmental, immunological, and reproductive issues. Since PFAS do not break down easily and can stay in the body for a long time, the more exposed you are, the more you are likely to gain adverse effects, such as the following:
- High cholesterol levels
- Kidney and liver damage
- Low birth weight for infants
- Thyroid hormone issues
- Weaker immune system
How do you Remove PFAS?
PFAS can be removed using ion-exchange, carbon filtration, or reverse osmosis.