What is PFAS? PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in industrial and consumer products since the 1940s.
They are used in a range of applications such as non-stick coatings, waterproofing materials, stain-resistant fabrics, food packaging, firefighting foams, and more.
Why is PFAS Harmful?
PFAS are persistent in the environment, meaning they don’t break down easily and can remain in the soil, air, and water for a long time. They can also bioaccumulate in the food chain.
What does that mean and why is it such a big deal?
It means that animals at the top of the food chain, including humans, may have higher concentrations of PFAS in their bodies.
One of the most significant ways PFAS pollute our water is through industrial discharges and improper disposal of PFAS-containing products. PFAS can also leach into groundwater from landfills or wastewater treatment plants where they have been disposed of.
Once in the water, PFAS can travel long distances and contaminate drinking water sources, leading to exposure to people and animals who rely on these sources for their water supply. Exposure has been linked to various health effects, including developmental and reproductive problems, liver and kidney damage, and increased risk of cancer.
Due to the potential risks associated with PFAS, many countries, including the United States, have set regulations and guidelines for PFAS levels in drinking water. However, the remediation of PFAS-contaminated water sources can be challenging and costly, making it a significant environmental and public health concern.
What are Some of the Potential Side Effects of PFAS in Humans?
Exposure through drinking water has been linked to a range of health effects in humans, including:
- Developmental and reproductive problems. Exposure may affect fetal growth, interfere with hormone levels, and lead to reduced fertility in women.
- Liver and kidney damage. Exposure may cause liver and kidney damage, which can result in serious health problems.
- Increased risk of cancer. Some studies have suggested that exposure may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including kidney and testicular cancer.
- Weakened immune system. Exposure may weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
- Thyroid problems. Thyroid problems can occur, which can then lead to fatigue, weight gain, and other health issues.
The extent of these health effects may depend on the level and duration of PFAS exposure.
Nevertheless, health officials recommend minimizing exposure to these chemicals as much as possible to safeguard our health.
Purity Bay specializes in a wide range of home water solutions. This includes water softeners, reverse-osmosis systems, whole home water filtration systems and anything in between. Whether you need help selecting a water system or servicing an existing system, our experienced team can help you out! Schedule an appointment today!