Some chemicals that last forever, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are now so pervasive that recent study suggests drinking rainwater everywhere in the world is harmful.
Human-made, dangerous “forever chemicals” are increasingly contaminating the air even inside houses and schools, and they are even detectable in snow and rain, even in the most remote regions of the globe.
The most recent data, which demonstrate the levels of four PFAS in samples of soil, rainfall, and surface water from various parts of the world, were released in Environmental Science & Technology. The levels of PFAS significantly above the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory, according to the findings.
According to the most recent U.S. drinking water standards, rainfall everywhere would be considered hazardous to drink, according to main author Ian Cousins, a professor at Stockholm University’s Department of Environmental Science.
Although drinking rainwater is uncommon in the modern world, many people believe it to be safe to do so and it is the source of many of our drinking water sources.
Due to increased knowledge about the danger of PFAS, the regulation of their presence in drinking water has reduced during the last two decades. However, it appears that the environmental levels have risen since the thresholds were set, rendering the once-safe drinking water found in the wild no longer appropriate for ingestion.
In the past 20 years, “there has been an astonishing reduction in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water,” claimed Cousins. For instance, the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) cancer-causing substance’s drinking water guideline value has decreased by 37.5 million times in the United States.
What makes PFAS “forever chemicals,” then? Obviously, since they like to stick around. It has been repeatedly shown that dangerous PFAS remain in the environment long after manufacturers stop producing them.
What causes this to occur? In order to maintain constant levels, PFAS are recycled from the environment continuously through natural mechanisms. Consequently, you are trapped within a vicious cycle.
According to co-author Professor Martin Scheringer, who works with RECETOX, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and ETH Zurich in Switzerland, “the exceptional persistence and constant worldwide cycling of certain PFAS will contribute to the continued exceeding of the above-mentioned standards.”
Now that PFAS have spread globally, all environmental media will violate environmental quality standards intended to safeguard human health, and there is not much we can do to lessen the PFAS pollution. In other words, it makes reasonable to set a limit on the amount of PFAS that may exist on the globe, and as we conclude in the research, this limit has been reached.