A recent article by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), titled, “PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported” reveals some rather disturbing news about the state of drinking water in the United States.
According to new laboratory tests commissioned by EWG, the toxic chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in dozens of U.S. cities, and it is now believed that PFAS is likely detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S. Furthermore, of the 44 tap water samples examined from 31 states, only one location had no detectable PFAS, and only two locations had PFAS below the human health risk level. Major metropolitan areas seem to be especially prone to PFAS contamination, with particularly high levels found in areas including Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New Jersey.
What is more worrisome is the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not report any significant presence of PFAS contamination in 34 of the 44 locations EWG sampled, mostly because the EPA only samples a few types of PFAS (six PFAS compounds out of thousands of compounds in the category), and only in systems serving more than 10,000 people. While utilities can perform these tests independently, they are not required to make the results of these tests public, nor are they required to report their results to state drinking water agencies or the EPA. This means that the EPA takes a very narrow and inaccurate view of PFAS contamination in water supplies.
What makes PFAS so dangerous is that they are very commonly used in household products, such as stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick coatings, waxes and paints, and cleaning products; and they do not break down in the environment, which means that they build up in the blood stream and organs upon ingestion. And considering that PFAS exposure can increase cancer risk, harm fetal development, and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, this kind of long-term PFAS exposure buildup can be incredibly damaging to human health.
While some may consider bottled water an adequate protection against something like PFAS contamination, there is no governmental requirement for PFAS testing of bottled water, and no public information about potential PFAS contamination of water supplies used in the production of bottled water. This means that there is simply no guarantee that PFAS levels in bottled water are lower than those in tap water, and considering that this new study implies that PFAS contamination is almost universal across the U.S., it may in fact be very likely that bottled water contains PFAS.
Water treatment options for PFAS in drinking water include granular activated carbon (GAC), ion exchange, and reverse osmosis (RO), although the effectiveness of each option varies greatly depending on the method and manufacture. This is where Multipure again demonstrates why we are the best in water filtration. Multipure’s drinking water systems utilize our proprietary carbon block technology (a more powerful and comprehensive evolution of GAC filtration) to treat a vast array of contaminants, including perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS), both of which are part of the PFAS classification.
Ultimately, this latest study highlights that the average consumer cannot rely on official protections to ensure the safety of their drinking water. Everyone deserves cleaner, healthier water, and the best way to ensure that is to use a drinking water system from Multipure.
You can also take a listen to our podcast about PFAS Chemicals