Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are in certain plastics, most notably, firefighting foam. When the plastics break down, the PFAs permeate at low levels through our air, soil, and water. When ingested, it can result in adverse health issues that include cancer, liver and kidney failure, thyroid and cholesterol changes, testicular or kidney cancer, defects to fetuses, and infertility. Fortunately for us, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found effective ways to remove PFAs from drinking water. Here are a few:
- Reverse osmosis. This process is a filtration system that allows pure water to pass through a thin, semi-permeable membrane while rejecting contaminants such as dissolved salts (ions), bacteria, and other impurities, according to Science Direct. While you can use reverse osmosis filtration systems at home, they are also utilized on a much larger scale to produce PFAs-free purified water for apartment buildings and manufacturing companies. Many people favor this filtration system because it is easy to use, energy-efficient, reduces water and sewage cost, and integrates easily with other filtration systems.
- Ion exchange filtration systems. This treatment process uses positively and negatively charged porous resins to pull undesirable elements, like PFAs, from the water. The resins do not break down in acid, base, and water. Ion exchange filtration systems not only remove the negatively charged PFAs but also demineralizes, softens, and purifies drinking water. When used effectively, it can remove contaminants and harmful chemicals from the PFAs family. One reason why the EPA recommends ion exchange filtration systems is because it helps to save water. Due to its design, there is no contaminated water left to dispose of that could potentially go back into our water bodies and back into our homes.
- Activated carbon treatment. In a process known as adsorption, this water treatment system utilizes a carbon filter that soaks up contaminants and other particles like a sponge does to water. The carbon filter consists of organic materials like wood and coal. Since it has a porous and large surface design, it is efficient at reducing bad tastes and odors in water and helping retain its natural taste. It also removes contaminants like PFAs.
How to Test Your Water for PFAs
Using Method 533 is the newest and most efficient way to discover PFAs, according to the EPA. To test your tap water for PFAs, you have the option of hiring an expert from a certified laboratory or purchasing a sampling kit and sending the sample to the laboratory. If you opt for the latter, take particular care since it is easy to further contaminate the water. Here are a few things to do during sample collection:
- Wear the heavy-duty nitrile gloves provided in the sampling kit
- Avoid water-proof clothing and stain-resistant clothing
- During collection, do not touch anything other than the sampling bottles
- Strip yourself of any deodorant, cosmetics, lotion, and sunscreen,
- Per clothing, ensure that what you are wearing was not washed with a fabric softener
PFAs Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have explored the most efficient ways to remove PFAs from drinking water, let us answer a few frequently asked questions.
Sources of Exposure to PFAs
Because PFAs do not break down in the environment, you can become exposed in a variety of ways. The most typical are:
- Coming into contact with food packages, such as takeout containers, bags, and sandwich wrappers
- Catching and eating fish from water bodies contaminated with PFAs
- Inhaling indoor air and dust when you have PFAs-covered furniture and other items in your home
- Using waterproof and stain-proof consumer products
The Harmful Effects of PFAs
Prolonged exposure to PFAs can result in serious health issues, including:
- Prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer
- Increasing your uric acid levels, which can result in cardiovascular diseases
- Compromising the immune system, leaving you susceptible to other illnesses
- Increasing your cholesterol levels
- Causing defects in fetuses and affecting the child’s weight during birth
- Harming fertility and causing hormonal changes
- Causing liver and kidney failure
What You Should Do if Exposed to PFAs
While you do not need immediate medical attention, you should visit your doctor and share your concerns.
How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help You
We are a personal injury law firm that represents potential litigants who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. If you would like legal counsel for a PFAs-related accident, call us at (800) 794-0444. A member of our team will listen to your case and provide effective solutions on the best way to move forward.