PFAS "Forever Chemicals" Contamination Worse than Previously Thought

U.S. Tap Water Found To Have Widespread Contamination of "Forever Chemicals"

An alarming study published today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that the contamination of PFAS (also known as the "forever chemicals") is likely detectable in all major water supplies in the US.1

43 out of 44 samples taken from across 31 states tested positive for PFAS contamination. 41 of those locations were shown to have PFAS detected at levels at which independent studies have shown PFAS to pose a serious health risk. And in all of those cases where the tests found PFAS, contamination had not been publicly reported by the EPA or state environmental agencies.

“It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG

It was previously estimated that 110 million Americans could have PFAS in their drinking water. However, the results of this latest study would suggest that the actual number is sadly much higher. Some of the highest PFAS contamination was observed in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Miami, New Orleans, Ann Arbor, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. 

What are PFAS? 
PFAS is actually a term that represents a family of chemicals rather than one individual thing. The name PFAS is an acronym for both per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. PFAS may also be referred to more specifically by one of the individual chemicals such as PFOA or PFOS. These all represent the same category of contamination.

These chemicals were widely used because of their heat resistant and non-stick properties. Which is why you might also know them by their more commercial name: Teflon.

What are PFAS? What items contain PFAS?

Why are they called "Forever Chemicals?"
PFAS are known as this because once consumed, they build up in human tissues and organs and do not break down. They have not been shown to be biodegradable and thus, once they are released into the environment, they do not break down. 

What will PFAS do to you?
The effects are largely still being studied, so the total cumulative effect over a lifetime is unknown. However, according to the EPA we do know that ingestion of PFAS can cause cancer, affect infant birth weight, accelerate puberty, cause liver damage, negatively affect the immune system and disrupt normal thyroid hormone function2

What is the legal limit for PFAS?
Sadly, PFAS are currently an un-regulated contaminant. This means that there is NO LEGAL LIMIT on how much PFAS can be in your tap water. The EPA has only set a "Health Advisory" for the chemicals and has no enforceable limit to how much PFAS can be in your tap water legally.2  This also means that municipalities are not enforced to actually test for the contaminant in the drinking water. As of today, the EPA only regulates 96 contaminants commonly found in drinking water, and that list has not been updated for years.

The EPA has only set a "Health Advisory" for the chemicals and has no enforceable limit to how much PFAS can be in your tap water legally.

How much PFAS is safe to drink?
Essentially zero. The measurement for PFAS is in such tiny increments that it is measured in parts per Trillion. For reference, there are one million millions in one trillion. So the actual amount of PFAS of PFAS that is safe to drink is zero. The EPA has set a preliminary Health Advisory at 70ppt (parts per trillion). However, most scientists believe that the toxic dose of PFAS is actually as low as 1ppt.

Will PFAS / PFOA Show Up On My TDS Meter?
No, the concentrations in which PFAS are shown to be toxic are at levels 0.000001 Parts per Million. To accurately measure this you need specialized equipment that can measure in Parts per Trillion. Relying on a consumer-grade TDS meter is not advisable. Properly calibrated laboratory equipment is required.   

Do I have PFAS in my body?
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control have shown that nearly all Americans tested positive for PFAS in their bloodstream. "In the U.S. alone, over 95% of adolescents and adults have measurable serum levels of PFOA, PFOA4"

In the U.S. alone, over 95% of adolescents and adults have measurable serum levels of PFOA, PFOA

Who does PFAS affect the most?
Some state health agencies such as the State of Michigan have advised that pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and the elderly or those with chronic health conditions could be especially susceptible to PFAS and should avoid drinking the tap water. 

Does my water filter remove PFAS?
PFAS contamination is a relatively new discovery, which means that none of the typical filters sold in retail stores have been tested/certified for removing PFAS. Simply carbon filters (like Brita, Pur) do not have PFAS testing. Even more advanced filters such as those made by ZeroWater are not capable of PFAS removal. Some reverse osmosis systems may reduce PFAS, but this varies greatly between units and most systems have not yet been tested for this. The filtration technology to remove PFAS does exist, and we're proud to recommend our Clearly Filtered Affinity Technology removes up to 99.9% of PFAS contaminants. 



Which filters remove PFAS?
Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher 

Clearly Filtered Under Sink Filter System 

Clearly Filtered Inline Refrigerator Filter

We currently have testing for PFAS removal on our top 3 selling products: our filtered water pitcher, under sink system and inline fridge filter. It is likely that our other filters featuring the same Affinity Filtration Technology (such as our water bottles) do in fact remove PFAS but testing for those is not yet completed. 

 

Still have questions?
If you have additional questions about PFAS or would like to get in touch with someone about which filter might be right for you and your family, then give us a call: 1-877-876-2740 or send us an email at info at clearlyfiltered.com

 

Sources:

1) https://www.ewg.org/research/national-pfas-testing/

2) https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos 

3) https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2019/07/08/spring-hill-advisory-july-2-2019_0.pdf

4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4483690/

 

How to Stay Hydrated for Your Health, Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, and Performance
How to Stay Hydrated for Your Health, Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, and Performance
Article written by fitness and health expert and longtime Clearly Filtered customer Tim Liu When it comes to improving your...
Understanding Water and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Understanding Water and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
We get questions everyday about whether our filters remove TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). The questions go one of two ways: 1....
What is Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water? Is R.O. Water good for you?
What is Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water? Is R.O. Water good for you?
  Clean drinking water is hard to come by. And in today's day and age there are many options...