Must known facts about
Per- and polyflouroalykl substances (PFAS)
Residents throughout the State of Connecticut are beginning to learn more and more about PFAS. This page can offer some great insights into PFAS, including how you can protect your home water supply with PFAS testing. Both city water supplies and private well water systems can be affected by PFAS. The Aqua Pump Co. team is ready, willing and able to help. Our team samples your home water and arranges for lab quality PFAS test to identify potential contaminants. Based on the result, we implement systems to remove them. We have the experience to work with any homeowner, municipality, or public water system operator to help them better understand if possible PFAS contamination will impact their water safety.
What are PFAS?
PFAS, scientifically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals that offer resistance to heat, water and petroleum products. PFAS are everywhere today, mainly because manufacturers and industrial companies have been leveraging the unique heat and water resistance qualities to produce their goods over the years.
Additionally, there are many types of PFAS chemicals. However, the most studied PFAS chemicals are PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid).
What are PFAS Used For and How Have They Grown?
Industrial and consumer products have relied on PFA chemicals for decades. PFAS have been heavily used in the following goods:
- Firefighting products, such as fire-suppressant foam.
- Surface finishing and treatments, such as leather, certain metals, paper, textiles and durable goods.
- Mist suppressants, such as metal plating baths and chromium plating.
- Paints and adhesives.
- Waxes and surfactants, such as detergents.
- Food-grade non-stick coatings, such as TeflonTM products.
- Personal care products, such as cosmetics, soaps and shampoos.
- Fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber, such as gaskets, O-rings and hoses.
- Points of transfer, such as rail yards.
- Disposal-related facilities, such as landfills, wastewater treatment plants, composting facilities, biosolids disposal and land application areas.
As municipalities, states and the federal government learn more about PFAs, it is expected that additional common uses will also be identified. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists a few major ways consumers can become exposed to PFA chemicals. Notably, certain low levels of PFAs enter the human bloodstream through food. How?
- Food grown in contaminated soil with contaminated water.
- Packages that contain PFAs.
- Food processing plants leveraging equipment made with PFAs.
Local drinking water is also a potential source of PFA exposure, which is why PFAS water testing is important. Water treatment and water processing facilities can contain PFA chemicals that possibly contaminate water supplies. Generally, the most common ways PFAS enter the water supply relates to improper drainage, improper disposals, storm water runoff and/or air emissions (typically of a manufacturing facility). The end result is PFAS contaminating city water and well water. PFAS testing can help determine if your water supply is being affected.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, such PFA exposure remains localized to the region that receives water from that specific facility. Currently, the EPA sets advisory warning levels that denote PFA contaminations, but they rely on individual states to create their own actionable levels (i.e., when PFAS need to be removed). Finally, the state of Connecticut has established preliminary soil action levels, which means PFAS must be removed from the land if the chemicals are found over the actionable level.
What are the PFAS Health Effects in Humans?
PFA chemicals remain very prevalent in the environment and in our bodies because PFAs do not break down and actually accumulate over time. What does that mean?
According to the EPA, if humans or animals ingest PFAS, then these substances remain in the body for long periods of time. As a result, PFAS levels continue to increase and may ultimately cause significant negative health effects. For example, studies show that elevated PFAS levels can cause negative side effects. Some PFAS health effects in humans are:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Reproductive and/or developmental issues
- Liver and kidney problems
- Lowered immune system
- Thyroid hormone disruption (exposure to PFOS)
- Cancer (exposure to PFOA)
How Does the EPA Regulate PFAS Chemicals?
The EPA recognizes the long-term danger of exposure to PFAS chemicals, including the previously mentioned PFAS health effects. As a result, the EPA issued a health advisory for PFOA and PFOS, which is based on an assessment of peer-reviewed scientific studies. Importantly, the EPA reviewed studies related to public officials overseeing drinking water systems.
But, what exactly is an EPA health advisory?
First, health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory, which means there are no mandates for local and city governments to guarantee the lack of PFA chemicals. Health advisories simply provide information on PFA chemicals to public officials overseeing the drinking supply.
Finally, the EPA established a lifetime exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water to 70 parts per trillion. This is a level at which no adverse PFAS health effects are anticipated, however a recent study by the Michigan Science Advisory Panel suggests lower levels are necessary and some states recommend monitoring levels as low as 17ppt.
Does Aqua Pump Co. Offer PFAS Testing?
Yes, Aqua Pump Co. does offer PFAS testing to ensure the safety of your water supply. We collaborate with specific labs to get your water tested for the appropriate contaminates. It is crucial you choose the correct company that uses the right lab. Not all labs are currently performing PFAS water testing.
Connecticut residents should understand the impact of the EPA health advisory. The health advisory informs officials about the dangers of PFAS exposure, but does not regulate PFAS in our water supply. As a result, homeowners must take proactive steps to reduce their long-term exposure, such as conducting PFAS testing and ensuring their water provider tests for known PFAS.
Fortunately, of all the PFAS chemicals, currently 14 of the compounds have established methods for testing. However, through home PFAS water testing homeowners can understand if they are at risk of any of these water contaminants. And, more important than water testing, Aqua Pump Co. offers water filters that remove known PFAS and other dangerous water contaminants. These PFAS water filters protect your home and your family from water contaminants.
Generally, studies have found that PFAS water filter systems work to remove known PFAS from potable supply wells and public water supplies. Typically, PFAS water filters that use activated carbon and/or resin filtration system work well to remove these contaminants. However, continued studies of PFAS chemicals and contamination may provide additional removal information over time.
For more information about PFAS health effects, PFAS testing, and PFAS water filters, contact Aqua Pump Co. today!
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