Not All In-Home Drinking Water Filters Completely Remove Toxic PFAS
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Even though the water filter on your refrigerator door, the pitcher-style filter you keep inside the fridge, and the whole-house filtration system you installed last year all function differently and have vastly different price tags, each of these systems has one thing in common: they all filter the water that comes into your home. It’s possible that they won’t be able to remove all of the contaminants from your drinking water that you’re concerned about. New research from Duke University and North Carolina State University has discovered that, while using any filter is preferable to using none, many household filters are only partially effective at removing toxic perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are commonly known as fluorinated organic compounds (VOCs).
According to Heather Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, “we tested 76 point-of-use filters and 13 point-of-entry or whole-house systems and found that their effectiveness varied widely.” PFAS chemicals were removed almost completely from all of the under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters tested, according to Stapleton.
Activated-carbon filters, on the other hand, were found to be inconsistent and unpredictable in their effectiveness when used in a wide variety of pitchers, countertop models, refrigerator models, and faucet models.” Moreover, the whole-house systems were highly variable, and in some cases, they actually increased the concentrations of PFAS in the water.” According to Detlef Knappe, the S.
Due to the potential health consequences of PFAS and their widespread presence in the environment, particularly drinking water, they have come under increased scrutiny in recent years.
- Pregnant women and children under the age of five may be the most vulnerable to the chemicals, which can have an adverse effect on reproductive and developmental health.
- The presence of these substances in human blood serum samples has become nearly ubiquitous, according to Stapleton.
- It is the first study to investigate the efficacy of point-of-use filters in removing PFAS from indoor air in a residential setting.
- The samples were tested for a variety of PFAS contaminants, including three perfluoroalkal sulfonic acids (PFSAs), seven perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs), and six per- and polyfluoroalkyl ether acids.
Among the PFEAs tested for were GenX, which has been found in high concentrations in water in the Wilmington area of southeastern North Carolina. GenX has been linked to cancer. The following are some key takeaways:
- It was shown that reverse osmosis filters and two-stage filters significantly decreased PFAS levels, including GenX, in drinking water by 94 percent or more, albeit the small number of two-stage filters tested needs more research to explain why they performed so well.
- On average, activated-carbon filters removed 73 percent of PFAS pollutants, although the findings were highly variable between laboratories. There have been instances when the toxins have been totally eradicated, while in others they have not been decreased at all. There were no discernible relationships between removal effectiveness and filter brand, age, or chemical levels in the source water, according to the researchers. The researchers concluded that changing filters on a regular basis is probably a very excellent idea.
- It was found that the efficacy of PFAS removal by whole-house systems that used activated carbon filters varied substantially. In four of the six systems evaluated, the levels of PFSA and PFCA actually rose after filtering was completed. It is possible that home water treatment systems, by removing disinfectants used in municipal water treatment, may leave pipes vulnerable to bacterial development.
It is “the most efficient technology” for eliminating both the PFAS pollutants widespread in central North Carolina and the PFEAs, including GenX, present in Wilmington, according to Knappe. “Unfortunately, they are also far more expensive than alternative point-of-use filters,” says the author. This raises issues about environmental justice, because PFAS contamination impacts a greater number of families who are financially challenged than those that are not financially challenged.” In this study, Nick Herkert, a postdoctoral associate in Stapleton’s group, served as the paper’s primary author.
- The Wallace Genetic Foundation provided funding, which was made possible through the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory’s PFAS Testing Network and the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.
- Environmental Science and Technology Letters published a paper by Nicholas J.
- Knappe, Kate Hoffman, P.
- Stapleton on February 5, 2019.
Reducing PFAS in Drinking Water with Treatment Technologies
Originally published on August 23, 2018 Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made compounds that remain in the environment for extended periods of time. These compounds have been used in consumer items for decades to make them non-stick and water resistant, and they are still in use today. They may also be found in firefighting foams and are used in a wide variety of industrial applications. The features that make them helpful are also the reasons they remain in the environment and can bioaccumulate, or collect in our bodies and the bodies of other living things.
- As a result, EPA researchers have been testing a range of technologies at various scales, including bench, pilot, and full-scale, to identify which approaches are most effective in removing PFAS from drinking water.
- Activated carbon adsorption, ion exchange resins, and high-pressure membranes are some of the technologies used in this process.
- Treatment with Activated Carbon The treatment with activated carbon has been the most extensively researched for the elimination of PFAS.
- Adsorption is the physical and chemical process of collecting a material, such as PFAS, at the interface between the liquid and solid phases, and it occurs at the contact between the liquid and solid phases.
- Granular activated carbon (GAC) is generated from organic sources with high carbon contents, such as wood, lignite, and coal, and is commonly employed in the form of granules.
- Using GAC in a flow through filter mode after particles have been removed from drinking water has been found to successfully remove PFAS from drinking water.
- For example, whereas GAC adsorbs well to longer-chain PFAS such as PFOA and PFOS, it does not adsorb well to shorter-chain PFAS such as perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) and perfluorobutyrate (PFBA).
PAC is made of the same material as ground activated carbon (GAC), but it is smaller and more powder-like in texture.
When used in this manner, PAC is neither as effective or as cost-effective as GAC at removing PFAS.
Using PFAS, on the other hand, has the added difficulty of what to do with the sludge that includes adsorbed PFAS.” Ion Exchange Therapy is a type of treatment in which ions are exchanged.
Ion exchange resins are constructed of a highly porous, polymeric substance that is insoluble in acids, bases, and water, and they are used to exchange ions.
Cationic and anionic ion exchange resins are the two major kinds of ion exchange resins.
Ion exchange resins work as small strong magnets, attracting and retaining polluted items in the water system and preventing them from flowing through.
AER has demonstrated a high capacity for various PFAS; nevertheless, it is often more expensive than GAC due to the higher cost of the AER.
One advantage of this treatment system is that it eliminates the need for resin regeneration, which means that there is no contaminated waste stream to manage, treat, or dispose of after treatment.
Membranes for High-Pressure Applications When it comes to eliminating PFAS from water, high-pressure membranes such as nanofiltration or reverse osmosis have shown to be particularly successful.
The permeability of the membrane is critical in this technique.
As a result, nanofiltration may effectively remove particles while keeping minerals that would otherwise be removed by reverse osmosis.
It is estimated that around 80% of the feed water, or the water that enters the membrane, passes through it to become effluent in both high pressure membrane types (treated water).
According to Speth, a high-strength waste stream that accounts for 20% of the feed flow might be difficult to treat or dispose of, particularly if the waste stream contains a pollutant such as PFAS.
Please see the Drinking Water Treatability Database of the Environmental Protection Agency for further information on drinking water technology available for eliminating PFAS.
This interactive literature review database comprises more than 65 regulated and uncontrolled pollutants, as well as 34 techniques that are regularly used or known to be effective in the field of environmental remediation. Users can do searches based on contaminants or technological advancements.
A PSA on PFAS: What are they and how can you filter them from your drinking water?
One thing that a microwave popcorn bag, a nonstick skillet, and nail polish all have in common is that they are all little. In many cases, these goods contain compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they pose a serious threat to human health and water supplies all over the world. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a PFAS Strategic Roadmap in October 2021, which is intended to “confront PFAS pollution throughout the country.
What are PFAS?
PFAS are a class of man-made compounds that have been shown to produce significant health effects in humans and to pollute water systems. Furthermore, PFAS are persistent chemicals that, rather than dissolving over time, accumulate in the environment over a period of years or decades. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are the two most widely manufactured perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the world (1). Since they have the unique capability of repelling oil and water, PFOA and PFOS have been used extensively in the manufacturing of a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including firefighting foams, stain repellents (including nonstick cookware), waterproof clothing and shoes (including boots), fast food wrappers, personal care products, and a variety of other consumer goods (5, 8).
To accommodate our growing need for quick meals on the run, takeaway containers were manufactured with PFAS to prevent sticking characteristics from developing (8).
Presence and Impact
Products containing PFOS and PFOA are manufactured and used in a manner that results in the ongoing release of these chemicals into the environment, and as a result, they have been discovered to be extensively spread throughout all trophic levels. Their presence has been detected in soil, air, surface water, groundwater, and drinking water wells in various locations around the United States of America (3).
A map ofPFAS contaminationin the United States. Updated in 2018 by the Environmental Working Group.
As of March 2019, at least 610 sites in 43 states have been identified as affected (2), and it is possible that more than 1,500 drinking water systems across the United States are contaminated with PFOA, PFOS, and other related chemicals (4). The vast majority of consumers have been exposed to PFAS, albeit its prevalence is slowly diminishing as manufacturers move away from the use of these chemicals in their products (1). When compared to the general population, those who live in close proximity to or work at facilities that manufacture PFAS have greater blood serum concentrations of PFOS and PFOA than those who do not.
Public water sources have been found to have high levels of PFOA and PFOS, particularly in locations near these production facilities. Exposure to PFOA and PFOS has the potential to have significant health consequences. The following are examples of those recognized by the EPA: (one and two)
- As of March 2019, at least 610 sites in 43 states have been identified as affected (2), and it is possible that more than 1,500 drinking water systems across the United States are contaminated with PFOA, PFOS, and other related chemicals (2). (4). Even though the vast majority of consumers have been exposed to PFAS, their prevalence is gradually diminishing as manufacturers move away from the use of these chemicals (1). When compared to the general population, those who live in close proximity to or work at facilities that manufacture PFAS had higher blood serum concentrations of PFOS and PFOA. They are exposed to a greater amount of these chemicals through their drinking water or by breathing dirt and dust in the vicinity of the plant (3). Public water sources have been found to contain contaminants such as PFOA and PFOS, particularly in locations near these production facilities. Health consequences from exposure to PFOA and PFOS are unknown at this time. These are some of the ones that the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized. a pair of numbers (one and two)
Water filtration technologies that remove PFAS
In general, most traditional chemical and microbiological treatment procedures are ineffective against PFOS and PFOA. Grains of activated carbon absorption, ion exchange resins, and reverse osmosis are among the most effective technologies for filtering PFAS out of drinking water that have been proved (1, 3). This dual filtration technology, which combines membrane microfiltration with activated carbon and superior ion exchange technology, is one of the most effective solutions available for combating PFAS.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created water advisories for combined concentrations of PFOS and PFOA that are less than.07 micrograms per liter.
The results of the lab tests consistently reveal that the contaminants are removed to below 0.01 micrograms per liter, which is substantially lower than the EPA standard.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State has issued a statement saying that Following The Times’ article last week that almost 300 drinking water wells and other water sources in California had been tainted with harmful chemicals linked to cancer, readers expressed interest in learning what they might do to protect themselves and their families. The term “perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances” (PFAS) was unfamiliar to many people, and it was the first time they had heard of this class of compounds.
- Will the PFAS be removed by the water filter pitcher that I keep in my refrigerator?
- If you wish to eliminate bad-tasting chlorine and pollutants such as heavy metals in your water, common water pitcher brands such as Brita and Pur are totally acceptable.
- According to NSF International, a body that evaluates and certifies water filtration systems, there are 77 devices that may decrease PFAS to levels below those recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency for human health.
- They range in price from $100 to $150.
- According to the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, a public health advocacy organization that has asked for stricter regulation of PFAS, a reverse osmosis filter, also known as a RO filter, is the gold standard for in-house filtering and is the industry standard.
- These filters are often regarded as the most effective available, but they generate significant volumes of effluent – almost three times as much water as they purify.
- Another alternative is an activated carbon filter, which may be installed beneath the sink as a second choice.
The Environmental Working Group does not recommend any particular brand, and NSF International provides you with a list of ten alternative manufacturers to select from.
First and foremost, the federal government does not regulate perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), and there is no widely accepted acceptable threshold for drinking water.
For example, New Hampshire has the tightest PFAS restrictions in the US, which are much lower than the threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, NSF certifies items to be free of the two most frequent PFAS versions — PFOA and PFOS — but there are hundreds of other variants in the PFAS family.
I reside in close proximity to one of the polluted wells that have been found by state testing.
Just because you reside in close proximity to a well with increased levels of PFAS does not imply that your tap water originates from the same source as that well.
But remember that if you are getting your water from a utility that has one or more contaminated wells, it is possible that the PFAS levels identified in the wells are not representative of what you are getting from your faucet.
Others have begun combining polluted sources with clean ones in an effort to reduce the concentration of contaminants.
Is it possible to test my tap water for PFAS?
It is also feasible to collect water samples and submit them to a laboratory on your own, but this is a time-consuming and difficult process.
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s comprehensive guidelines, wearing latex gloves, water-resistant clothes, or even some types of lotions and sunscreens that contain the toxins while collecting samples is not permitted.
When it comes to PFAS testing, California drinking water regulators recommend that you use a laboratory that has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The cost of a single sample ranges from $400 to $1,000.
Should I wait for the state to test it or should I do my own tests?
So far, the state has tested around 600 water sources, which represents a small proportion of the whole system.
California, in contrast to Michigan, which has committed to testing all of its public water suppliers, has not stated if it would do the same, much alone turn its focus to private drinking water wells, as of this writing.
If PFAS are discovered in my location, will my water bill increase?
Despite the fact that state-ordered PFAS testing has just recently begun in California, there are already examples of water agencies spending money to construct new treatment facilities or purchase clean water from other sources to replace wells that have been closed due to contamination.
However, because testing is still underway, it is difficult to predict how broad and expensive the cleanup effort would ultimately out to be.
State officials are anticipated to focus their attention on the chemical corporations and military departments that released PFAS into the environment when additional testing is carried out. In the end, the question of “who pays?” may be decided by the courts.
There’s PFAS in Our Water. How Do We Get Them Out?
In the United States, if you grew up drinking tap water, it’s probable that you’ve absorbed some level of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl compounds at some time throughout your life. Perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” are a class of over 5,000 chemicals that can be found in a wide range of industrial and household products, including nonstick cookware coatings, cling wrap, microwave popcorn, and firefighting foam. PFAS have been linked to cancer in both humans and animals.
Contaminated Drinking Water Is Now a Country-Wide Issue
The use of PFAS on manufacturing lines in the United States began in the 1940s. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the beginning of studies into the negative health effects of perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) on the human body, and a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2021 discovered that exposure to PFAS was linked to a wide range of health problems, including increased rates of liver and heart disease, decreased antibody responses to vaccines and cancer, as well as low birth weight in babies and thyroid problems.
While PFAS exposure can occur through inhalation or consumption of contaminated foods, current study reveals that drinking water is the most concerning source of exposure to these chemicals.
PFAS exposure is estimated to have occurred in over 95 percent of the country’s population, according to the Environmental Working Group, and over 2,300 places in 49 states have been identified as having some amount of PFAS contamination.
How Do We Get Rid of PFAS?
What methods do we use to remove contaminants from our drinking water that will last forever? Fortunately, current home filtration technologies, notably granular activated carbon and reverse osmosis systems, are capable of filtering out certain PFAS chemicals from drinking water. But these technologies do not completely remove all of the PFAS chemicals from drinking water. Research conducted by researchers at Duke University and North Carolina State University in the year 2020 discovered that the effectiveness of granular activated carbon filters (the kind typically installed in a water pitcher or refrigerator) varied widely, while installable reverse-osmosis systems (which push water through specialized membranes) performed better.
Unless a clear pollutant source is identified, it is sometimes impossible for homeowners to determine whether or not their water includes PFAS, as was the case in North Carolina.
State governments in several states, such as New Hampshire and Ohio as well as Michigan, North Carolina and California, are making the findings of their PFAS water tests public on the internet.
For individuals who are unable to afford the services of a private laboratory, Stapleton recommends that they regularly use and change a filter, which is a simple first line of protection for any family.
“What I always try to tell is, just apply a filter,” Stapleton says of his approach to photography. “Because any filter is preferable than no filter, even if it isn’t 100 percent effective,” says the author.
Developing Technologies for Municipal Water Treatment
PFAS contamination of public drinking water sources is increasing, and treatment facilities must begin filtering particularly for the chemical class in order to enhance their contaminant levels in order to keep up with the times. The Colorado School of Mines’ Chris Higgins studies the transport and bioaccumulation of emerging contaminants in water supplies. “If the water treatment system doesn’t know that they have a PFAS problem, and isn’t operating it specifically to PFAS, then it’s probably not doing anything,” Higgins says.
Two researchers at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill are working on an ionic fluorogel resin that is particularly designed to attract and trap perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“I believe that granular activated carbon has become the preferred absorbent technology for large-scale purification plants because, among the imperfect absorbent technologies, it is the most cost-effective,” says Frank Leibfarth, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina and one of the study’s principal investigators.
When tested against 21 different types of PFAS, the resin Leibfarth and his team are working on absorbed over 80 percent of them, and it absorbed over 99 percent of GenX—a widely circulated PFAS chemical with known health effects—compared to a 20 to 30 percent absorption rate for GenX from ion exchange resins and carbon filters, respectively.
As Leibfarth explains, “We’re getting closer and closer to being able to target these translationally relevant features in a systematic way, which is quite exciting.”
The Beginning and End of PFAS
However, even when improved filtration technologies for PFAS are developed, experts are concerned that an excessive number of polluted water sources would go undiscovered. Although newer and more cost-efficient technologies are required urgently, Higgins points out that they will always be a part of the process. It is the fact that we haven’t discovered all of the locations where they are harmful that causes me concern. The decision on how much, if any, they wish to track or control PFAS production is now left to the discretion of each states.
This is the only government guidance available. The presence of PFAS in drinking water is not regulated by the EPA, according to Leibfarth. “And until there are enforceable restrictions in place, there will be no major action.”
How to filter PFAS from tap water?
What is the most effective method of removing PFAS from tap water? Concerns about PFAS, including PFOS and PFOA, in tap water are rising as more and more of the compounds are discovered in Europe and the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It is estimated that more than 30 towns in the United States have water supplies that are contaminated with dangerously high amounts of PFAS chemicals.
What are PFAS chemicals?
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made compounds that are extremely stable and have qualities that allow them to reject both water and oil, as well as other chemicals. A wide range of consumer items, such as carpets, clothes, non-stick pans, paints, polishes, waxes, and cleaning solutions, contain perfluorinated aromatic hydrocarbons (PFAS). Firefighters and the military utilize them in the production of fire-fighting foam.
Why are PFAS dangerous?
Despite the fact that more study is needed, certain studies have revealed that long chain PFAS such as PFOA and PFOS may cause:
- Causing developmental effects in infants
- Decreasing a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant
- Increasing a woman’s blood pressure during pregnancy
- Lowering infant birth weights
- Interfering with the body’s natural hormones, increasing cholesterol levels
- Interfering with the immune system and increasing the risk of cancer
Cause developmental effects in infants; lower a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant; increase a woman’s blood pressure during pregnancy; lower infant birth weights; interfere with the body’s natural hormones; raise cholesterol levels; affect the immune system; increase the risk of cancer; cause developmental effects in infants;
How does PFAS substances end up in our tap water?
When PFAS levels in water sources are excessive, it is generally due to a manufacturing facility, a disposal site, or a site that uses PFAS, but it might also be due to a fire station or a military reserve. Although they ceased utilizing the PFAS compounds years ago, it is possible that they will persist in the drinking water for tens of years. This has been discovered in the Veneto area of Italy recently, when it was discovered that hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to high amounts of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from ancient industries.
What about bottled water?
Bottled water may also contain PFAS since it is less regulated than tap water and is not required to be tested for the presence of PFAS before being sold.
How do I know if there’s PFAS in my tap water?
This is a difficult task since PFAS chemicals are not included in most conventional water quality testing. This explains why it took such a long time for it to be discovered in areas like Veneto, Italy, and Horsam, Pennsylvania.
How can I filter PFAS from the tap water?
Fortunately, filtering PFAS is simple if you use the correct sort of filter. Activated carbon treatment is the most extensively researched method of removing PFOS, PFOA, and other PFAS from the environment. As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency, “Activated carbon can be 100 percent effective for a period of time, depending on the type of carbon used, the depth of the bed of carbon, the flow rate of the water, the specific PFAS you need to remove, the temperature, and the amount and type of organic matter, along with other contaminants, or constituents, in the water.” Particularly concerning are PFOS and PFOA, which are the most often encountered PFAS.
TAPP 2 faucet water filter, which is an affordable high-quality faucet water filter that uses activated carbon, will eliminate PFAS by 95 percent or more.
The greatest thing is that it will only cost you $60 each year, which is a bargain. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange filters are other effective methods of removing PFAS from water.
- Where there has been a contamination of the local water supply, PFAS in drinking water has become a significant source of worry. We know there are health hazards associated with PFAS, but we don’t know how serious they are, so it’s better to be safe than sorry if you reside in an area where there is a chance of exposure to PFAS. Bottled water may or may not be free of PFAS contaminants. A low-cost activated carbon faucet filter, such as the TAPP 2orFlo Faucet Filter, will filter out PFAS, keeping you and your family safe.
Information and guidelines on PFAS from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The following is an excerpt from a WHO report on PFAS in Italian tap water: PFAS are a contributing factor to low birth rates: The presence of PFAS causes liver damage: PFAS in tap water in the United States: The IR=TPFAS restrictions differ from state to state: Directive on PFAS in drinking water from the European Union:
What’s the Best Water Filter for Removing Toxic PFAS?
In-home drinking water filters may fail to eliminate the most dangerous toxins in some instances. In antiquity, the expression “mad as a painter” was used to describe the delirious conduct of lead-poisoned artists who had become insane. Prior to the prohibition of mercury usage in the 1940s, hat manufacturers employed the substance in their trade, causing several Mileners to become “crazy as a hatter.” Women used to apply arsenic to their skin to improve their complexion, and we used to impregnate children’s wallpaper with DDT to keep them healthy.
Like, what were we thinking, to begin with?
Unfortunately, we are still engaged in this type of poisonous tomfoolery – and, what’s worse, we are fully aware of what we are doing and continue to do it anyway.
What Are PFAS?
This takes us to per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, sometimes known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances). Since the 1950s, this family of chemicals has been used in a wide range of commercial applications, including firefighting foam, non-stick pans, and water-repellents. However, the chemicals have come under scrutiny because they accumulate in organisms (including humans) and remain in the environment indefinitely. If you’ve ever heard the term “forever chemicals,” you’re not alone. Exposure to these chemicals is prevalent, and it has been linked to a variety of malignancies, low birth weight in newborns, thyroid disorders, poor immunological function, and several other health problems.
The New York University School of Law reports that the chemicals have been detected in the drinking water of more than six million Americans at levels that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2016 lifetime drinking water health advisories level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) – a level that is seven to ten times greater than the safe level of exposure estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018.
How Effective Are Water Filters at Removing PFAS?
Because the present administration does not appear to be very interested about clean water (see the NYU link above for further information), it is our responsibility to defend ourselves. So we go out and acquire our water filters, hoping that by doing so, all of the poisonous junk will be eliminated from our water. But sadly, this is not the case. According to the findings of a new research from Duke University. Water filters on refrigerator doors, pitcher-style filters kept inside refrigerators, and whole-house filtration systems installed last year may all operate differently and have wildly different price tags, but they all have one thing in common, according to the University of California.
The research is the first to investigate how effective household filters are in removing PFAS.
However, many filters are only marginally successful at eliminating PFAS from drinking water, according to the authors, who conclude that any filter is preferable to none. Some of them, if not properly maintained, might exacerbate the situation.
Which Water Filters Are Best?
Under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters were the clear winners of the competition. Stapleton stated that all of the under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters tested were successful in removing almost all of the PFAS compounds that were being tested. While activated-carbon filters were successful in many pitcher and countertop forms, they were variable and unexpected when employed in faucet-mounted styles like as those used in refrigerators. The whole-house systems were likewise highly varied, and in some cases, they actually increased the concentrations of PFAS in the water they treated.
- Average findings showed that activated-carbon filters eliminated 73 percent of PFAS pollutants, although there was a wide range of results.
- “In four of the six systems studied, the levels of PFSA and PFCA actually rose after filtering was completed.
- As a result, reverse osmosis filters and two-stage filters are the clear winners.
- Despite this, humans are a foolish species — we may no longer have crazy painters and mad hatters, but keep an eye out for that tap water.
10 Ways to Safeguard Your Family from PFAS
Diamonds. Roaches. Carbon. Many things in our world seem to last an indefinite amount of time. Some are gorgeous, such as diamonds, while others are pests, such as roaches, and some are simply a part of our environment, such as carbon. However, certain materials that persist forever are extremely dangerous, such as per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS), which are generally referred to as PFAS. Perfluoroctanesulfonic Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) are the two types of PFAS that can be found (PFOA).
- According to WebMD, it may be found in items that are resistant to stickiness, heat, water, stains, and grease, among other things.
- Additionally, in the late 1970s, PFOS was found as a chemical for industrial application, and it was later employed as an important element in products such as Scotchgard.
- So, what is the significance of all of this?
- It is possible that PFAS, which are used in industrial production and fire extinguishing foam, have made their way into our water supply at levels that are worrying across the country.
- And cancer isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed.
- The Environmental Protection Agency also cites research that show that exposure to PFOA and PFOS at levels above a particular threshold might cause developmental abnormalities in babies during pregnancy, liver damage, immune system alterations, and other impacts.
Following that, here are ten recommendations for protecting your house and family against PFAS.
- Check your surroundings — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking polluted water is the most common source of PFAS exposure in the United States. The Environmental Working Group’s interactive map of contamination locations around the country may be used to see whether or not drinking water in your region has been classified as polluted. Keep in mind, though, that not all of the country’s water supplies have been tested for contaminants. If your town is not on the list, take note of where you are in relation to the list’s location. A greater risk of exposure exists in homes located close or downstream from a fire station, airport, military site, or industrial production facility. Inspect your drinking water– While there is currently no established safety limit for PFOA/PFOS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a lifetime health advisory (meaning, what you should consume throughout your entire lifetime), which equates to one drop of food coloring in ten average-sized swimming pools (70 parts per trillion (PPT)). If your house is served by municipal water, you may obtain a copy of the city’s yearly water quality report by contacting the city clerk’s office. Alternatively, if your property is serviced by a private well, you may test your own water using an at-home test kit. A water filter should be purchased. Filtering your drinking water is the most efficient technique to safeguard your house and family against contamination. Remember that not all water filters are effective in removing PFOA and PFOS. Look for systems that have been tested and are NSF or IAPMO certified for NSF-P473, which ensures that both chemicals are reduced to an acceptable level. PFOA/PFOS reduction is guaranteed by NSF certification for all Aquasana drinking water filters, including under sink and countertop, and the firm was the first water filter manufacturer to acquire NSF-P473 certification for PFOA/PFOS reduction. If you want to decrease pollutants from every tap in your house, the OptimH2O® Whole House filter eliminates PFOA/PFOS by 98 percent, in addition to lowering lead, chlorine, chloramines, and other contaminants. View the complete list of filters approved for PFOA/PFOS removal at NSF.org or IAPMO.org. Check the labels on your products – Check the labels on cosmetics, skin care, personal hygiene, and cleaning items to see whether they include any harmful ingredients. Remove any products from your shopping cart that have the phrases “PTFE” or “perfluoro” in the list of components. If in doubt, consult the Environmental Working Group’s list of confirmed toxin-free personal care items, which may be found at EWG.org. Stay away from greasy fast food– Another compelling reason to avoid the drive-thru! PFOA/PFOS is a chemical compound that is used in various food packaging to resist grease, such as fast-food wrappers, containers, and pizza boxes, among others. In light of the fact that these chemicals are also used to line the interior of microwave popcorn bags, go for the old-fashioned (and vintage!) method of popping your corn on the stove. If you don’t want to use a stain repellent, choose carpets and furniture that has not been treated with one. Also, wash your hands often. It is especially critical for parents of crawling toddlers and young children who are just starting to walk to limit hand-to-mouth transmission from surfaces treated with PFAS. Check your closet– PFAS may be found in a variety of apparel and accessories, including textiles that are stain- and water-resistant. Instead of synthetic fibers, use natural fabrics such as untreated cotton and wool. Stay away from non-stick cookware and utensils– While there are some occasions when non-stick pans may be necessary (e.g., when making omelets! ), try to cook using stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron pots and pans whenever feasible. Know your fish– According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating certain species of fish and shellfish might increase your chance of contracting an infection. It is not always possible to tell whether or not the fish you are eating was taken in polluted water, but you may find out if your state has issued any fish consumption warnings by checking the website of your local health department. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides a safe eating guide that is particular to fish and shellfish. Changing your air filters on a regular basis is recommended since PFAS may be transferred via the air and travel vast distances. If you want to keep your home safe, change your air filters on a regular basis and keep an eye on your daily local air-quality reports.
However, despite the fact that major companies that previously used PFAS have begun (or are already well into) the process of phasing out PFAS, they are considered bioaccumulative, can be transported through the air and into groundwater, and are expected to remain on the environmental watchlist for the foreseeable future. That’s why it’s critical today, more than ever, to understand how to protect yourself against PFAS exposure. SHOP THE ENTIRE HOUSE OPTIMH2O FILTER OPTIMH2O FILTER
How to Remove PFAS From Water (2022 Ultimate Guide)
PFAS were prominent in the headlines a few years ago when it was discovered that they were present in “toxic levels” in a number of bottled water sources. However, PFAS exposure is not restricted to the consumption of bottled water. As a result of pollution in your neighborhood, your home’s public water supply or well water supply may also be contaminated with PFASs. It is my intention to cover all aspects of PFAS, including their origin in the United States, the threat they pose to human health, as well as methods for removing them from your drinking water, in this in-depth guide.
What Are PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances)?
Compounds classified as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short, are distinguished by their strong carbon-fluorine linkages, which distinguish them from other types of chemicals. For nearly a century, these chemicals were used in factories, military bases, airports, and industrial sites across the United States – until it was discovered that the chemicals were being released into the air as byproducts, resulting in widespread environmental pollution of the earth, the air, and natural water sources across multiple states.
PFOA and PFOS
These two PFAS (perfluorooctanoic acid) are believed to be the most frequent and harmful, and they have both been phased out of use: PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanoic acid sulfate) (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid). Traditional uses of these PFAS compounds included the production of nonstick cookware and paper, as well as the manufacture of paints, cleaning goods, stain repellents, food packaging, and water-resistant clothes, among other things. Both compounds have harmful bioaccumulation qualities and are referred to as “forever chemicals,” which means they have the potential to persist in the environment for hundreds of years or longer.
Where Do PFAS Come From?
The majority of PFAS pollution is the consequence of human activities. Airlines and military posts that employ firefighting foams containing this chemical are the primary suppliers of PFAS compounds, which are produced and processed at these facilities. Riversideca.gov is the source of this information.
How Do PFAS Get Into Water?
There are a variety of ways in which we might be exposed to PFAS, including through the use of goods that contain PFAS and breathing in PFAS-contaminated air, among other things. PFAS contamination, on the other hand, is most typically seen in drinking water. In order for PFOAPFOS to enter local drinking water systems, it must first enter the environment. It is possible that you reside in close proximity to a factory that manufactures or releases PFAS chemicals as a result of its operations. You may also reside in close proximity to an airport, military installation, or oil refinery, where PFOS or PFOA used in firefighting foam may pollute water sources through surface runoff due to the presence of these chemicals.
Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. In 2016, a study team discovered that at least 6 million individuals in the United States were drinking water that contained levels of PFAS that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s public health standards.
Health Risks Associated With PFAS
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a non-enforceable health advisory level for the maximum contamination level of PFOS and PFAS, indicating that these chemicals should not be present in public water sources in concentrations more than 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Lower quantities of PFAS, on the other hand, may still be harmful if absorbed through drinking water. A few of the most frequent health hazards related with PFAS contamination in drinking water include the following:
According to research, drinking water contaminated with PFOA and PFOS may raise the chance of developing malignant tumors, as PFAS exposure has been classified as carcinogenic to the human body. Exposure to PFAS has been related to a variety of cancers, including testicular, kidney, and liver cancer.
Immune System Effects
The results of animal studies have revealed that PFAS exposure may impair the immune system’s capacity to respond to the danger posed by pathogens in the body, resulting in a reduction in disease resistance. Additionally, PFAS exposure may potentially impair the body’s ability to produce the quantity of antibodies necessary in response to vaccination, which is particularly concerning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is now underway.
Thyroid Hormone Disruption
There have been a lot of studies that have discovered that PFOA and PFOS in the blood can interfere with endocrine function and cause the thyroid to stop working normally. As far as we know, PFOS or PFOA can cause “accumulation, cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, interference with thyroid hormone production, thyroid hormone production function, and iodine absorption” in thyroid cells, according to the research thus far.
Low Birth Weight
PFAS levels were shown to be elevated in the bloodstream of a growing child whose parent or parents had high levels in their blood. The infant was also found to be more likely to have preterm birth weight concerns, as well as a higher risk of being tiny for gestational age. Not only was the infant’s birth weight lower, but it was also discovered that the infant’s growth was inhibited over the first two years of life. In addition, PFOA and PFOS have been related to a lower risk of pregnancy in female subjects.
How to Test for PFAS in Water?
PFOA and PFAS are both invisible to the naked eye, and you will not be able to detect or smell them in your drinking water. When combined with other chemicals, they become much more harmful because if you were asked to pick between a glass of water that did not include any PFOS or PFOA and a glass of water that did contain hazardously high amounts of these chemicals, you would have no idea which one was which. You must first determine whether or not PFOA is present in your drinking water before proceeding with the procedure to remove it from the water.
When it comes to getting your water analyzed, sending a sample to a state-certified laboratory is the most effective method.
I recommend the following: TapScore is a product developed by Simplelab.
- Tests for 14 of the most prevalent PFAS
- Concentrations are tested down to less than 2 parts per million (PPM)
- Turnaround time is 10 days. A self-serve report is available on the internet. The procedure 537.1 of the Environmental Protection Agency is used. Shipping is complimentary both ways.
If you don’t want to have your water tested for PFOS or PFOA separately, or if you’re not sure which of these chemicals your water may contain, it’s a good idea to get your water tested for both at the same time. The cost of state-certified laboratory testing is typically between $100 and $300 for a one-time test, so it is not inexpensive. However, getting your water tested may reveal information that, when it comes to the health of yourself and your family, proves important in the future. Worried about whether a home test kit will be a sufficient alternative for professional laboratory testing?
The results of a water testing kit can give you with some basic information about the quality of your water and whether or not your tap water contains PFAS, but they cannot provide the degree of detail you want to determine whether or not your water is safe to drink.
✅ How to Remove PFAS from Drinking Water
A variety of water treatment technologies are available to help you eliminate PFOA and PFOS from tap water if you’re interested in doing so.
Activated Carbon Filters
When it comes to eliminating PFOAPFOS from drinking water sources, activated carbon filters, either granular activated carbon or solid carbon block cartridges, are the most effective. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, activated carbon filters are the first and most thoroughly researched water treatment method to consider when dealing with PFAS contamination in the United States. A granular activated carbon water filter is capable of adsorbing a wide range of common water pollutants, including chlorine, lead, and perfluorinated aromatic hydrocarbons (PFAS).
According to an EPA researcher, granular activated carbon can be 100 percent effective for a limited length of time — and this relies on a variety of conditions, including water temperature and flow rate, the depth of the carbon bed, and the kinds of PFAS that need to be removed.
Among the other alternatives to consider are the topunder-sink, pitcher, and countertopfilters.
Ion Exchange Systems
Ion exchange is another type of water treatment technology for eliminating PFAS from tap water. Ion exchange systems are comprised of a tank containing an anion exchange resin, which is commonly manufactured from insoluble hydrocarbons and is used to exchange ions. Ion exchange resins are classified into two categories: anionic resins and cationic resins. Given that cationic resins are negatively charged, they are preferable when it comes to removing positively charged impurities, whilst anionic resins, on the other hand, are positively charged and are more effective when it comes to removing negatively charged impurities.
Because PFAS are often negatively charged, anionic resins are the ideal choice for eliminating PFAS from the environment.
An anion exchange system, like an activated carbon water filter, can be extremely effective at removing PFAS from drinking water; however, the effectiveness of the process may be influenced by a number of factors, including the flow rate and temperature of the water, the depth and quality of the resin bed, the presence of other contaminants in your drinking water, and so forth.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
The use of a reverse osmosis filtration system is generally considered to be one of the most extensive and comprehensive water filtration systems currently available on the market. During the reverse osmosis process, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane with holes that are approximately 0.0005 microns in size, under high pressure. However, while PFAS may be found in a variety of sizes, they are often far bigger than these membrane pores and are therefore unable to filter through with water particles in most cases.
- In order to ensure that only clean water is delivered to your faucet, the PFAS and hundreds of other trace impurities in water are flushed down a drain as part of the reverse osmosis process.
- When it comes to reverse osmosis filters, they may be put at the point of entry, such as at your main water line to offer whole-house filtration, or they can be installed at the point of usage, such as beneath your kitchen sink to give clean, filtered drinking water.
- Maintaining reverse osmosis technology is a very simple process.
- I recommend the following RO systems:
|AquaTru Countertop Filtration System||Efficiency Ratio: 4:1Filtration: 4 stagesType: CountertopCapacity: 1 gallon, 3 quartsDimensions: 18 x 18 x 15 inchesWeight: 22.9 pounds||See price at waterandwellness.com☝️ Get 15% off – Click here for codeRead Our Review|
|Waterdrop WD-G3-W||Efficiency Ratio: 1:1Filtration: 7 stagesType: TanklessWater Production (GPD): 400Dimensions: 18.1 x 5.7 x 17.8 inchesWeight: 31 pounds||See price at waterdropfilter.com☝️ Get 10% off – Click here for codeRead Our Review|
|US Water Systems Defender Whole House RO System||Efficiency Ratio: 5:1Production Rate (GPD): 2,000 – 8,000Tank Included: YesPressure Pump Included: YesWarranty: 2 years||See price at uswatersystems.com|
Which Water Filters Are Best For PFOS and PFOA Removal?
Knowing your alternatives, how can you decide which system is the best fit for your needs? It all depends on what you’re trying to find. In the event that you are just interested in a treatment system that will remove PFAS, carbon filtration or ion exchange systems may be the best option for you. Conversely, reverse osmosis filters may be the better choice if you enjoy the notion of eliminating PFAS and purifying your drinking water, making it fully safe and minimizing health impacts from a wide range of toxins.
In the event that you do not wish to spend a large sum of money on a PFAS removal system, you may find that your options are quite restricted in terms of the systems that are available.
It is critical that you do testing in order to determine exactly which contaminants are present in your water before contemplating a contaminant removal solution for your water.
Lead, chlorine, arsenic, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are all frequent contaminants found in tap water, and each has its own maximum contaminant warning level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) owing to the possible health impacts they may have.
It is completely feasible to deal with many pollutants at the same time, and knowing what toxins are present in your water is unquestionably beneficial.
❔ PFOS and PFOA Removal FAQ
Knowing your alternatives, how can you determine which system is the best fit for your needs? The answer is dependent on your requirements. If you’re looking for a treatment system that will just remove PFAS, carbon filtration or ion exchange systems may be the best option for your needs. Conversely, reverse osmosis filters may be the better choice if you enjoy the notion of eliminating PFAS and purifying your drinking water, making it fully safe and reducing the health consequences of a wide range of toxins.
It is possible that you will be restricted in your options for PFAS removal systems if you do not want to spend a lot of money on one.
Before choosing a contaminant removal solution, it is critical that you do testing to determine exactly which contaminants are present in your water.
As a result of the possible health impacts of contaminants such as lead, chlorine, arsenic, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established maximum contaminant warning levels for each of these contaminants.
Are any other technologies capable of PFAS removal?
There are a couple of them. For example, when it comes to eliminating this chemical from water, distillation is often quite successful – even more effective than a filter. However, in contrast to the quick-fix options discussed in this book, a distiller can take up to 4 hours to generate a single batch of chemical-free water, making it far from a convenient and rapid clean water solution.
Will boiling water remove PFAS?
Because there is no evaporation-condensation-or-filter mechanism that can remove PFOS and PFOA, boiling water alone will not remove the chemicals. Rather of causing some of the water particles to evaporate, boiling your water would result in the same concentration of PFAS being present in a smaller amount of water.
How do I know if I’m at risk of PFAS exposure?
You should be able to get information on the quality of your water on the internet from your local state. If everything else fails, arranging for a state-certified laboratory test is the most accurate approach to determine exactly what is in your water.