What are PFAS/PFOS?
If you live or are from Michigan, there’s a good chance you have heard about Perfluorooctanoic acid substances (PFAS). PFAS are one of the worst environmental disasters to happen in Michigan in 40 years. PFAS are a broad group of PFOA, PFOS, PFNA and PFhxS chemicals, which are man made chemicals that have been used in consumer products since the 1950s. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) are the most notorious PFAS chemicals. PFOA and PFOS are used in the manufacturing of a variety of products including, nonstick cookware, surgical gowns, carpet protectant, cellphones and many others. PFAS are synthetic chemicals that do not occur naturally but are widespread in the environment.
They can also be referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down.
Michigan has the most PFAS contaminated sites in the U.S. and where they have been found in the great lakes as well as many rivers.
Why are they a concern?
There are a variety of ways someone could be exposed to PFAS, but the most common way to encounter these chemicals is through drinking water. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), 1.5 million residents in Michigan have been contaminated drinking water. After being ingested, PFOA and PHOS can stay in the bloodstream for decades and cause these harmful health effects:
– Weakened childhood immunity
– Reproductive problems
– Liver, kidney, testicular and pancreatic cancer
– Increased cholesterol
What can you do about them?
Hiring a professional to test your water for any contamination should be the first action you take to protect yourself. If your results come back positive for PFAS, it is recommended to drink from bottled water, and install a carbon filter or install a reverse osmosis system.
A carbon filtration system will reduce the amount of PFAS in your drinking water, but not as successfully as a reverse osmosis system. A reverse osmosis system has proven to consistently remove PFOS and PFOA from drinking water, typically having a 90 percent success rate. A reverse osmosis system includes a sediment filter, carbon filter and a RO system membrane. The reverse osmosis system will force the water through a membrane with intense pressure that traps the contaminants in the membrane.
Michigan’s contaminated sites are largely because of other states not extensively testing for these chemicals in their water. Spreading the word about these chemicals and having more proactive tests will better prepare the rest of the U.S. for the PFAS crisis.
PFAS are not going away anytime soon in Michigan. Being prepared and staying informed will prepare you for what is being called Michigan’s next water crisis.
At Owen’s Water, we have experts who can test your water and get you the right treatment system to protect you and your family. Call us today at (844) 426-4897 for a free water analysis and start taking the right precautions against PFAS!