More than ever, forever chemicals and their impact on your health and the environment are being featured in the news. To help you better understand forever chemicals, we decided it’s time for a blog post.
First of all, what are forever chemicals?
Forever chemicals are PFAS – an acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are man-made compounds that contain carbon, fluorine and other elements. Since the 1940s, these chemicals have been used in an array of household products such as non-stick cookware, food packaging, stain and water repellants, and upholstery & carpet. They are also used in more industrial products like firefighting foams.
I’ve heard PFOA and PFOS chemicals were phased out of production – tell me more. Two of the most common and widely studied PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). While these two forever chemicals have been phased out of production in the United States, there are still as many as 3,000 other PFAS chemicals still being produced and used to make things we use every day.
What’s the issue with forever chemicals? There’s one big problem with forever chemicals and it’s exactly what the name implies… they are persistent and very hard to eliminate. They accumulate in the environment and in your body. Given the prevalence of PFAS, the reality is we are all exposed every day and in a variety of ways. These chemicals are in our food and in our water. They are also released into our homes through use of household products containing PFAS, which many household products do contain PFAS. To add to the exposure risk list, here’s a terrifying fact: an estimated 16 million people are drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
The following information is taken directly from the EPA website:
PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.
Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe.
Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.
And, here’s a big part of the problem:
What We (the EPA) Don't Fully Understand Yet
EPA's researchers and partners across the country are working hard to answer critical questions about PFAS:
How to better and more efficiently detect and measure PFAS in our air, water, soil, and fish and wildlife
How much people are exposed to PFAS
How harmful PFAS are to people and the environment
How to remove PFAS from drinking water
How to manage and dispose of PFAS
What else do we need to know?
Simply said, forever chemicals are bad for our health. But, exactly how bad depends on several factors, mainly how much PFAS are ingested and for how long. While increased exposure increases risk, evidence shows exposure even to low levels of PFOA and PFOS can lead to negative health impacts, including low infant birth weight, decreased fertility, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, weakening of the immune system, and testicular and kidney cancer.
If PFAS weaken the immune system, what's the Covid impact?
In February, we blogged on how Forever Chemicals Make COVID Worse citing a recent Harvard study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that shows “that people who had elevated blood levels of a toxic chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) had an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19 than those who did not have elevated levels.” As we think of building a healthy immune system, it's critical that we decrease negative exposures - such as forever chemicals.
Now let’s talk about our Drinking Water
Nationwide, more and more residents are receiving alarming letters from their water companies regarding forever chemicals. In October 2021, thousands of Metuchen, New Jersey residents were warned that a high level of PFOA have been leaking into their drinking water. The notice indicated that the level exceeded the legally permitted level enforced by the NJ Department of Environmental protection by 2x.
Our questions is why is any level of hazardous chemicals allowed?
To us, this makes no sense.
So what can we do?
Luckily, we know removing forever chemicals from our drinking water is feasible. Confirmed by independent studies, activated carbon filtration, reverse osmosis (RO), and anion exchange treatment all work to remove PFAS from the drinking water in your home
The PUR2o Alkaline Plus System will take PFAS out of your drinking and cooking water and flush them down the drain. You and your family will be drinking and cooking with water that is filtered, purified and remineralized. This is what we call safe & healthy water. You may ask, where do these forever chemicals go? Sadly right back into the water cycle.
Until technology can come up with a Forever Solution, Forever Chemicals aren't going away any time soon.