If you thought drinking water straight from your tap was safe, here’s a shocker for you. PFAS, or per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are running amok in your water supply. Why should you care? Because these synthetic baddies are linked to nasty health issues like reduced fertility, weakened immune systems, and even cancer. And you know what’s worse? Over 45% of the water we’re consuming is likely laced with these toxic chemicals, according to a recent federal report.
But before you choke on your water, let me tell you there’s hope. Experts suggest certain measures you can take to decrease your exposure to these sinister substances, one of the most effective being the use of PFAS-specific water filters. Check out this guide made by environmental watchdogs to help you pick the right one.
Now, don’t be fooled by the seeming omnipresence of these chemicals. Yes, they’re found in almost every corner of our environment – from our rivers and lakes to the very air we breathe and, distressingly, in everyday products found in our homes. They’re even in some types of food packaging and cleaning products. We get it, PFAS are like the clingy exes we never asked for. But remember, knowledge is power.
So how did we get here? How did these ‘forever chemicals’ make their way into our lives? A major part of the blame lies with industries and private corporations who, while trying to cut corners and maximize profits, let PFAS slip into our environment. And now, instead of cleaning up the mess they made, they’re playing the blame game and are trying to pass the cost of the cleanup to you, the taxpayer. These are the same corporations that are being taken to court and are having to shell out billions in settlements. Doesn’t sound too fair, does it?
So, what can we, the people, do about it? We’re the ones on the frontline, particularly those of us living near petrochemical plants and other industries using PFAS, who face the highest risk.
Firstly, get in touch with your local water provider. They might already be testing for PFAS and putting the results online. You can even ask them about their filtration systems and how well they are designed to remove these toxins. Look out for systems certified by NSF/ANSI Standards 53 or 58, they have the necessary filtration to deal with PFAS.
Meanwhile, on the national front, the EPA is taking a closer look at PFAS in our drinking water and is even considering legally enforceable limits on PFAS levels. They’ve got a detailed nonbinding health advisory for PFAS in drinking water. Though this move is met with resistance and is yet to be finalized, it’s a step in the right direction.
Now, here’s a quick hack: if you suspect PFAS contamination in your water supply, either filter it or find an alternative source. Pre-filtered water in refillable jugs from grocery stores is a good option. Also, be sure to check your water filter labels, look for filters that are certified to remove PFAS.
Secondly, take the fight to your home. Do your part by steering clear of products that contain PFAS. This includes non-stick cookware, grease-repellant food packaging (think microwave popcorn bags and fast-food wrappers), and even some cleaning products.
Lastly, don’t let the bad guys get away. Put pressure on your elected officials and keep polluting industries in check. These corporations have shirked their responsibilities long enough. It’s high time they pay their dues for the harm they’ve caused. While taking personal steps is important, comprehensive action at the policy level is required to truly rid our environment of these ‘forever chemicals’.
To conclude, it’s all about taking a stand. Whether it’s by using a PFAS-certified filter or calling out the wrongdoers, every action counts. So let’s get our hands dirty (metaphorically, of course) and fight this PFAS menace. Together, we can ensure our water is clean, our health is protected, and corporations are held accountable.