What are the Concerns with PFAS?
PFAS are estimated to be present in the blood and tissue of 98% of Americans
They are a large family of over 4,000 different chemicals that have been shown to be bio-accumulative, i.e. they collect over time within our bodies (as well as within other animals that we consume).
PFAS have been linked to significant medical issues
A massive epidemiological study of 69,000 people exposed to PFAS in their drinking water near a factory in West Virginia found that there is a probable link between certain PFAS and cancer of the kidneys and testicles, thyroid disease, pregnancy-related hypertension, high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, and the autoimmune disease ulcerative colitis. Other studies have confirmed many of these findings and shown that PFAS are also likely linked to lower fertility in women; harm to developing fetuses, infants and children; liver disease; and weakened immune systems. You can find this information and more in the congressional hearing report.
EPA and state regulators are setting standards for PFAS content in water
In May 2016, the EPA released Health Advisories for drinking water with a guideline of 70 parts per trillion for the total amount of PFOA and PFOS (the two most well known and widespread PFAS chemicals). To provide some context, one part per trillion is the equivalent of one grain of sand in an Olympic-size swimming pool. As you can see, we are talking about very small quantities of chemical that cannot be detected via visual examination. The EPA is actively working towards establishing a regulation. For the latest on EPA actions, click here.
Individual states are already setting standards at the local level, many of which are more stringent than the EPA advisory level, with some as low as 10 parts per trillion. For more information on local regulations, click here.
Congress recently unveiled a $20B bill to battle forever chemicals
If approved, this bill would expand the scope of existing water programs run by the EPA, increasing the funding of various grant programs while allowing that money to be used to remove PFAS from water. The full text can be found here.
The Bottom Line
Irrespective of where things finally settle, it is clear that a solution will be needed soon so that manufacturers and water suppliers can comply with regulatory requirements. To meet this important emerging need, the Aqualumos team is developing a technology that breaks down PFAS and removes it permanently from the ecosystem. Click here to learn more about our solution.