PFAS or PFC’s are a class of chemicals including PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, and PFhxS. They were invented in the 1930’s by 3M. Commonly known by their brand names, Teflon and Scotchgard they have many uses including water, heat and oil resistance. They are also commonly used for fire suppressant in foams that Fire Departments use. They are referred to as “emerging contaminants” because their effects on the environment and our health are still being studied.
We do know that they don’t break down in the environment, sometimes called the “forever chemical”. Once they enter our bloodstream their presence can be detected for decades. Studies suggest many adverse health issues from exposure including developmental effects to unborn babies or nursing infants, low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal defects, testicular and kidney cancer, damage to the liver and thyroid as well as compromised respiratory and immune systems.
Michigan has tested more than a thousand sites and PFAS contamination has been found in dozens of water systems. It has been found in the great lakes as well as our rivers. Currently, a stretch of the Huron River is under a “do not eat the fish” advisory from Washtenaw County through Oakland County all the way to the mouth of the river at Lake Erie in Wayne County, due to PFAS being discovered in the fish. Lakes in Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Livingston Counties are also included, and people are “discouraged” from eating the fish. Besides fish, deer are also being tested for contamination and we are expecting those results to be released this month. The goal is to have all of Michigan’s public water system tested in the coming months.
Although PFAS safety concerns have been known for years however, there are no federally regulated drinking water standards currently. There is an EPA advisory that sets the ‘safe’ level at 70 ppt for drinking water but recent studies released by the Center for Disease Control suggest this number is 7-10 times to high.
So, what can you do? The Environmental Protection Agency suggests either activated charcoal filtration or a high-pressure membrane system (reverse osmosis) can be used to remove PFOA and PFOS from drinking water. Kinetico’s K5 Reverse Osmosis has both. Kinetico offers state of the art drinking systems that are highly customizable to meet your specific needs and assure that the water you serve your family is safe.
One thing that is certain is that PFAS is not going away anytime soon. It has been called Michigan’s next water crisis. While our government is working on a solution to correct it you can also take steps to stay informed and treat the water you consume. We are always seeking the best options to help the communities we serve, call us today and find out how we can assist you with our services!