The Effects of PFOS and PFOA in Drinking Water
PFOA and PFOS in drinking water are the newest concern for millions of Americans. The chemicals can be widespread and dangerous.
What is PFOA? What is PFOS?
PFOA and PFOS are artificial, toxic chemicals from the PFC family. The EPA has cited PFOS and PFOA in drinking water as a threat to public health.
PFOS and PFOA were used for decades to produce goods. Like cookware, clothing, and adhesives. Smoke stacks from factories emitted the chemicals, which drifted to the ground. When it rained, the chemicals dissolved and moved through the soil, entering ground water. PFOS and PFOA have recently phased out of production in the US. But the chemical can linger in water for decades.
PFOA is Perfluorooctanoic acid. PFOS is Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. C8 is another word commonly used to describe PFOA.
The Health Effects of PFOA and PFOS:
PFOA and PFOS in drinking water are carcinogenic. And are linked with increased risk for at least six major diseases:
- Diagnosed High Cholesterol
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Thyroid Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension
PFOA and PFOS could also be dangerous to pregnant women. Some studies have linked the chemicals to fetal growth problems, including low birth weight. But the science is contested. In general, the effects of PFOA and PFOS are higher for the young and unborn.
Like lead, bioaccumulation is a large concern for PFOA and PFOS. The chemicals can build up in the body over time. So even small, but persistent doses can be dangerous. In 2004, 99.7% of Americans had PFOA in their body. And the average level was about 4 parts per billion in blood serum. That number has declined since manufacturers phased out PFOA in 2015.
Testing for PFOS and PFOA in Drinking Water:
The EPA has set the combined limit for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion. But this is only an advisory level and is not enforced. There is no national legal cap on the amount of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. And water providers are not required by the EPA to test for PFOA or PFOS.
Since 2013, EPA testing has found PFOA in the drinking water of 6.5 million people. And the chemical was detected in 94 public water systems in 27 states. The majority of samples were below the EPA advisory level. But some statewide averages were up to 175 times higher than the EPA limit.
This testing was not comprehensive. So, it’s possible PFOA and PFOS are more widespread across America. And that includes private wells and small water systems, which weren’t part of the testing.
Those near factories, airports, or military sites should test for PFOS and PFOA in their drinking water.
Contact your local Culligan dealership for information on testing. They will guide you through the process and provide you treatment options.
How to Remove PFOA and PFOS from Drinking Water:
EPA officials recommend NSF and ANSI Certified filters to reduce PFOA and PFOS. And certified filters can reduce PFOA and PFOS by more than 95%. Culligan reverse osmosis systems match NSA and ANSI standards for PFOA and PFOS reduction.
And Culligan also provides bottled water in case of an emergency.