Wednesday, March 06, 2019
What is PFAS—and Why Should You Care? (the following is an excerpt from a story found in the EPA online website, a link to the full article is included at the end of this post)
Doctors and health gurus are always telling us to drink more water for our health—but what if that water is contaminated by a potentially toxic chemical? In 2016, dozens of communities across the country were hit with unsettling news: PFASs had been found in their drinking water. A study of groundwater across the country found these chemicals in drinking water in 27 states, impacting 6 million Americans. Many of these communities are near military bases, airports, and industrial sites. If you are in one of the affected areas, how concerned should you be? Here's what we do—and don't—know about these unfamiliar substances lurking in the water.
P-What? So, what's a PFAS?
PFAS is an abbreviation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and it's not just a single chemical. PFASs encompass a whole family of manmade chemicals that contain a carbon and fluorine atom backbone. There are hundreds of known PFAS compounds with varying functional groups, which can include other elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, or sulfur. PFAS compounds came into common use in the 1950s and '60s and are now used in hundreds of industrial processes and consumer products. They are considered useful because they are resistant to heat, water, and oil. Consumers may be exposed to PFASs in non-stick cookware, grease-resistant paper, fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, stain-resistant carpets and fabrics, water-resistant clothing, cleaning products, and personal care products. PFASs are also used in industrial processes and, notably, in firefighting foams. PFASs are a component of many of the firefighting foams used by the military, airport authorities, and local fire and rescue agencies. It is these foams that are most often implicated when PFAS is found in groundwater or in the environment. The problem is that PFAS chemicals do not occur in nature, and some of them take a very long time to break down in the environment. Our bodies don't do a good job of breaking them down, either, so they have the potential to build up in the organs and tissues of humans and animals.
We feel that PFAS contamination is an emerging concern that those in the water industry will be hearing much more about in the coming months and years. Please note that Access Analytical will be happy to assist you with any PFAS testing requirements you might have. If you need to collect samples please contact our office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 803-781-4243.