Dangers of PFAS in Drinking Waters
In June of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued health advisories that warned against the dangers of PFAS and their harmful effects on humans and animals. The risks include increases in cancer, high cholesterol and obesity, and may affect hormones, reproduction, child development and the immune system. The information is concerning, so what are these chemicals, what are the dangers of PFAS in drinking water, and what can you do about it?
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These are man-made chemicals and are found in items like non-stick cookware, rain repellant clothing, stain resistant carpeting, cosmetics and other household items. PFAS are considered “forever chemicals” since they don’t easily break down in the environment and, once they enter your body, they remain in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, these chemicals are also being discovered in our environment, and that includes our drinking water.
PFAS have been found in every state, which means they have been detected in Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Worrisome concentrations of PFAS have been found in Chicago, which provides treated Lake Michigan water to more than 5 million people in the city and suburbs. The chemicals are in other lakefront communities with their own water treatment plants, including Evanston, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Waukegan, Wilmette and Winnetka.” They go on to say that wells and rivers in the Chicago area are also contaminated with forever chemicals. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to know if your drinking water is contaminated with PFAS without testing. It doesn’t impact the taste or odor of the water and boiling it does not remove the chemicals.
Because the negative impact of these chemicals on humans is greater than originally thought, the EPA recently lowered the acceptable level of PFAS in drinking water to an undetectable amount. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to remove PFAS from your drinking water and keep your family safe.
According to the EPA website, the first thing that you should do is check the current levels of
PFAS in your home’s drinking water. You can do this by contacting your local water utility that you get your water from if you use a public water system, or by testing your water if you on a well. If you decide to have your water tested, they suggest that you use a state-certified laboratory and, once you have the report, they suggest checking these numbers against the state’s standards for acceptable levels.
If you find that you have concerning or unacceptable levels of PFAS in your home’s water, you can contact the state’s EPA or health department for recommendations on what you should do to eliminate the problem. The first thing you should do, according to the EPA, is to avoid or limit ingesting the contaminated water. Once solution is to use bottled water. Even if the bottled water you are buying is tap water that’s been repackaged, that water has been treated and is free of PFAS. However, this can be both inconvenient and expensive. Ultimately, the EPA recommends installing an in-home water filter that removes PFAS if you find that it is present in your home’s water supply.
Before purchasing a water filtration system for your home, keep in mind that not all water filters remove PFAS from the water. The filter on most refrigerators, for example, remove chlorine from the water and improve its taste, but are not designed to remove all chemicals. Fortunately, there are water filtration systems that do remove these chemicals and protect your family from the dangers of PFAS.
The ONE™ Filter and Contaminant Reduction System are great options for removing contaminants, including PFAS, from your drinking water. The ONE™ Filter is designed to use a variety of large capacity cartridges, which will cut back on how often you have to replace the filter, saving time and money. With the addition of the carbon block cartridge, the system will filter out lead, cysts and PFAS from your home’s drinking water and extend the life of your cartridge. This whole-home filtration system can also be paired with a water softener and is a great option for those homes needing multiple water solutions.
In addition to decreasing the dangers of PFAS in your drinking water, these systems offer other benefits, as well, including improved taste and reduced odor of your water and reduction of other particles. The ONE™ units are easy to maintain and have easy-to-replace filters with screw-on and snap-in assembly that doesn’t require tools.
Prairie State Water Solutions is extremely knowledgeable about what should and should not be in your drinking water. We offer in-home consultations, and can test your water for non-harmful contaminants, such as hardness, iron and manganese, as well as perform broad spectrum analysis to identify various in-organics such as lead, copper and arsenic, coliform, E-coli bacteria and volatile organic compounds. We can offer solutions to rid your water of these contaminants, including PFAS, so you can be confident that your family has the best, safest drinking water available. Installing a ONE™ Filter and Contaminant Reduction System is also much easier than relying on bottled water and will save you money over the course of time.
More information will become available as the EPA is expected to propose national drinking water regulations later this year, with a final rule expected in 2023. For more information, you can learn more on the EPA website and contact Prairie State Water Solutions at 1-630-864-7078 to set up a free consultation.