Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals, are everywhere. There are thousands of manmade household goods and products that contain these toxic chemicals which then make their way into our bodies. PFAS compounds are estimated to be present in 97% of Americans. From cookware products to packaging, cosmetics, clothing, carpet, electronics, and even the water we drink, it is safe to say that PFAS are almost unavoidable in modern life. Over the years, chemical companies have attempted to hide evidence of forever chemicals and their health hazards, exposing millions of people to potential health risks.
PFAS are a group of artificial chemicals that are known to be extremely persistent as well as resistant to degradation in the environment. They have the potential to remain in human bodies for years and years, giving them their rightful name: forever chemicals.
While there are thousands of chemicals that fall under the PFAS umbrella, the most prominent types used since the 1940s are known as PFOA, the compound originally found in the production of non-stick cookware, and PFOS, a compound used in firefighting foam, stain-resistant fabric and other products. Luckily, both PFOA and PFOS chemicals have been gradually phased out in the United States with guidance from the EPA. Unfortunately, decades of use have already allowed forever chemicals to penetrate the soil and air, making them practically ubiquitous in water sources across the country.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself from Forever Chemicals?
While tougher laws and regulations are being enacted, it is also important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from dangerous PFAS. One of the best things to do at home is to filter your water with an ULTRA-6® reverse osmosis system. The EPA agrees that “high-pressure membranes, such as nanofiltration or reverse osmosis, have been extremely effective at removing PFAS. Research shows that these types of membranes are typically more than 90 percent effective at removing a wide range of PFAS, including shorter chain PFAS.”
What is Being Done Today About the PFAS Contamination Crisis?
In recent months, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a number of initiatives in efforts to further protect American communities from harmful exposure to forever chemicals. The following are a few of the most recent actions that have been taken in 2023 regarding the PFAS contamination crisis:
PFAS Analytic Tools
Knowledge is power. In January 2023, the EPA introduced a new interactive webpage known as the PFAS Analytic Tools, gathering a variety of reputable sources of information on PFAS that can be accessed easily in a single location. As a result, this new online resource will help to further educate the public, researchers and stakeholders on the potential PFAS sources that are present in their local communities.
Inactive PFAS Significant New Use Rule
In addition, the EPA also proposed the Inactive PFAS Significant New Use Rule, designed to prevent anyone from starting or resuming, without a comprehensive EPA review and risk determination, the manufacture, processing or use of around 300 PFAS that have not been made or used for many years, also known as “inactive PFAS”. It is important to note that in the past, this group of PFAS may have been used across numerous industries in many different ways that could have been exposed to the environment. Without this new proposed ruling, companies would be able to continue the use of this group of PFAS without notification to or review by the EPA.
Bipartisan Funding to Address Emerging Contaminants Like PFAS in Drinking Water
UDI has been proudly providing top quality water purification and treatment services to customers in Florida and Georgia since 1979. Our team is glad to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the water quality in your home or place of business. Call (800) 741-4426 to learn more.