P What? What are PFAS and Why Should I Care?

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Have you heard about the State of Emergency in Parchment, Michigan announced late July 2018? They are not the only ones in the U.S. fighting PFAS contamination, though. Dangerous levels of PFAS have been found in water for 16 million Americans, food and our soils.

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What are PFAS?

Certain chemical compounds that allow items we use daily to be non-stick or to repel liquid. It accumulates or is found in the environment (water and soil), human bodies, food processing machines, food packaging. PFAS help us to have an easier, safer life in some ways.

Where are they found?

Pizza boxes, Teflon coated cookware, and other everyday items. The U.S. no longer makes some of these chemicals, but products in the U.S. have PFAS and are used daily by Americans. Large amounts of these chemicals end up in waterways from military bases, airfields or fire-fighter training sites because of the fire retardants.

What do they do to us?

They accumulate and detrimentally affect the liver, kidney and immune systems, reproductive and developmental health. The end up in food when it’s processed or from contaminated water or soil, or through air, mostly. But, PFAS also end up in water and they are not soluble- meaning, they cannot be removed through normal filtration methods.

What can remove PFAS from water?

From our understanding at DLDT based on water filter knowledge from our partners, there is one certifying agency that has developed a method (Protocol P473) to test two of the most commonly mentioned compounds. You can find the list of devices which have passed this testing here.

What can you do to avoid potential PFAS

Eat local, unpackaged fresh food, use cast iron cookware or non-Teflon cookware, forget that pizza box and make your own or dine-in, support companies that agreed to remove PFAS from their products. Also, VOTE and contact your federal representatives. Reforms are needed to the Toxic Substances Control Act in order to allow the EPA to list these as regulated contaminants, not just listed to advise the public during of potential danger/events. If you have more information to share on this topic, feel free to comment or email us at info@drinklocaldrinktap.org. Let’s keep learning together about this very new health emergency.

Learn more:

What are PFASs, the toxic chemicals being found in drinking water?
Basic Information on PFAS