Forever Chemicals estimated to be in 45% of the nation’s tap water!

Forever Chemicals estimated to be in 45% of the nation’s tap water!

What are PFOA PFOS aka "Forever Chemicals" 

PFOA and PFOS fall within the category of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are fluorinated organic chemicals. Among PFASs, PFOA and PFOS have been extensively manufactured and studied, finding applications in various products like carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper food packaging, and water-resistant materials such as cookware. Additionally, they have been employed in firefighting activities at airfields and various industrial processes.

Given their widespread incorporation into consumer products, the general population has been exposed to PFOA and PFOS. Notably, PFOS was voluntarily phased out of production in the United States between 2000 and 2002. In 2006, major global companies collectively agreed to phase out their production of PFOA and related chemicals. Despite some ongoing uses, studies indicate a decline in the levels of PFOA and PFOS in the blood of tested individuals.

While consumer products and food serve as significant sources of exposure for most people, there is an additional risk in communities where water supplies have been contaminated by these chemicals. Typically, such contamination is localized and associated with specific facilities, including industrial sites where these chemicals were produced or used, or airfields where they were employed in firefighting.

According to the USGG.gov and the EPA.gov 

The EPA.gov has established health advisories for PFOA and PFOS, grounded in the latest peer-reviewed scientific assessments. The objective is to provide drinking water system operators, as well as state, tribal, and local officials responsible for overseeing these systems, with information regarding the health risks linked to these chemicals. This information empowers them to undertake essential actions to protect the well-being of their residents. The EPA remains committed to aiding states and public water systems in determining appropriate measures to reduce exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. As our scientific understanding of the health effects of these chemicals progresses, the EPA will continuously evaluate emerging evidence.

The USGS.gov states that Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in United States tapwater: Comparison of underserved private-well and public-supply exposures and associated health implications.

Increasing concerns about the quality of drinking water in the United States underscore the need for thorough assessments of exposures and potential health impacts at the point of use. While there is nationwide concern about per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, information is particularly scarce for private wells. To address this gap, a nationwide reconnaissance was conducted to compare human PFAS exposures in unregulated private-well water and regulated public-supply tapwater.

Between 2016 and 2021, a total of 716 samples were collected from various locations across the US, encompassing both private wells (269 samples) and public supply sources (447 samples). Temporal sampling was carried out at three locations. PFAS concentrations were assessed by three laboratories, and the results were analyzed alongside land-use and potential-source metrics to identify drivers of contamination.

The observed number of individual PFAS ranged from 1 to 9 (median: 2), with cumulative concentrations ranging from 0.348 to 346 ng/L. Seventeen PFAS were detected at least once, with PFBS, PFHxS, and PFOA being most frequently identified in approximately 15% of the samples. PFAS profiles and estimated median cumulative concentrations were found to be similar between private wells and public-supply tapwater nationwide. It was estimated that at least one PFAS could be detected in about 45% of US drinking-water samples, with spatial variations in detection probabilities.

Benchmark screening indicated that potential human exposure risk was mainly associated with PFOA and PFOS when detected. Cumulative PFAS concentrations and detection frequencies were associated with potential sources and land use. However, associations with specific PFAS were limited, likely due to low detection frequencies and higher detection limits. The information generated emphasizes the need for further assessments of cumulative health risks associated with PFAS as a class, particularly in unmonitored private wells where information is limited or unavailable.

 

 



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