Drinking water is a basic necessity of life, and it is important to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, many people across the Midwest may be at risk of drinking water that’s been contaminated. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are two of the most dangerous types chemicals that can be found in drinking water. Commonly referred to as PFAS, these chemicals have been proven harmful to human health, so it is essential to identify if they are present in your drinking water.
As a leader in the bottleless water cooler industry, Office H2O is all too familiar with the concerns wrapped around PFAS and other harmful chemicals found in drinking water across the Midwest. So, we find it especially pertinent that we educate our customers and readers about why they should care if PFOS or PFOA is in their drinking water.
What are PFAS?
PFAS are types of perfluorinated chemicals that have been widely used in consumer products since the 1940s. These chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment or the human body. Therefore, they can accumulate over time, leading to prolonged exposure and health risks. PFAS are commonly used in firefighting foams, non-stick coatings, and water repellents for clothing, textiles, and carpets. They are also used in food packaging and many other industrial processes. Even makeup can contain PFAS, making it even more difficult for us to move away from.
How do PFAS Chemicals Get into Your Water Supplies?
PFAS substances enter the drinking water supply through various ways such as the run-off from fire training areas, industrial waste, and household wastewater. Once they are in the water supply, these chemicals remain there for a long time, increasing health risks for those who consume the contaminated water. The Environmental Protection Agency has set a limit of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the combined concentration of PFOS and PFAS in drinking water. Levels above the limit can pose severe health risks to humans.