Water is a substance that is composed of chemicals, hydrogen and oxygen. It comes in liquid, gas, and solid states. These elements are the main constitution of the Earth’s hydrosphere and source of fluids in all living organisms. It is essential to life.
It provides no organic nutrients or calories, however, water can be influenced with other chemicals and it can change its composition making it suitable or unsuitable for living things.
The adult human body is made up of 60% water, and according to H.H. Mitchell, “the lungs is 83% water, skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% water, bones are 31% water, and the brain and heart are composed of 73% water”. Water and its composition is vital to us human beings. We should always have an even level of water chemicals so as not to render us ill.
One of the contaminants in water is the PFAS. It can cause a growing human body potential health issues. Exposure to PFAS includes obesity, hormone suppression, cancer, high cholesterol, decreased fertility, liver damage, and thyroid disease. While harmful in liquid form, these chemicals can potentially shift into soil, food, dust, and air.
PFAS or polyflouroalkyl is a stable manmade chemical substance that has a liquid property that enables it to resist oil and water. It has different varieties and properties at a point, when you change the level of chemical toxicity. Common types of PFAS are perflourooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Material Application of PFAS
The fat liquid property of these substances makes them applicable to any type of material and make it resistant to oil, stain, and water. These unique properties have been used commercially in a wide variety of products such as food packaging, cleaning products, carpets, clothing, paints, non-stick pan, polishes, and waxes. They can also be used as a component to make a fire-suppressing foam.
The composition of PFAS are not easily disintegratable in the environment and are made water soluble. With this, you can find low levels of PFAS everywhere and higher levels in water supplies near areas where PFAS are used and manufactured.
Source of PFAS
PFAS can be found in things and consumable such as food, household products, in your workplace, drinking water, and living organisms like animals, fish, and humans.
All of these examples are either made up of PFAS, contains PFAS, or through contamination.
Exposure to PFAS
A person can be exposed to PFAS through the public water system, soil, outdoor air, water wells, and staying in areas near PFAS manufacturing, use or disposal.
Air contamination can be done through household things like carpets, consumer products, textiles, and other things that are PFAS manufactured.
This also applies to the food packaging used and consumption of food and water that are exposed to PFAS areas.
Water Exposure to PFAS
PFAS can get in water through exposure and contamination from its source. As stated that there are areas with high density of PFAS, water sources that are coming from those areas are highly contaminated with PFAS.
We also mentioned that the composition of PFAS can not be easily broken, it can stay longer in anything. If we consider the existence of PFAS in a water stream, it will travel long distances, further contaminating an area.
PFAS materials that are exposed to water longer, can also be a source.
Limits of PFAS in Drinking Water
As of now there is no maximum contamination level for PFAS chemicals. The US Environmental Protection Agency, together with the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry have made an estimated level of limit in human exposure to PFAS. They have considered setting it to below average as exposure will not only lead to toxicity, but can be worse.
Guidelines and implementation were properly disseminated in areas to promote awareness and prevention of incidents.
How to Deal with PFAS In Your Drinking Water
Here are some steps on how to deal with PFAS found in your drinking water.
Do not boil contaminated water. This will create a chemical reaction that would make it stronger.
You can reduce the risk of exposure by drinking bottled water. Even if most manufacturers have treated and filtered water, you have to make sure that it is manufactured and tested for no PFAS.
Use unexposed or safe water in daily activities that might involve drinking.
For those who have children at home, you can opt for products that you will not have to use or mix water.
What should be done when you are exposed to PFAS?
If you are exposed to PFAS, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor can test your PFAS level that is found in your blood. Results can have different effects depending on your existing health conditions. Nevertheless, your doctor can advise you on the right medication and protocols.
Is the main source of water in your home safe?
If you are new to your area, it would be best to consult experts on this matter. You can visit your town environmental agency to help you check with the level of PFAS in your home water.
Even if declared safe, it is advisable to have your drinking water bought in gallons from water stations that are licensed to sell treated and filtered water.
Are there any health benefits in PFAS exposed water?
In a very low level of PFAS contaminated water, your body can tolerate its harmful effect, yet there are no health benefits that can be associated with PFAS.
This also applies to animals, exposure to PFAS will have the same effect as humans.