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They’re carbon atoms, surrounded by fluorine atoms, one of the strongest chemical bonds known in nature.
They never break down. They never go away.
Especially not inside our bodies.
Once you’re exposed to them, perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, end up in your bloodstream forever. In fact, PFAS can be seen in the bloodwork of 99 percent of Americans.
PFAS are carcinogenic. They are linked to thyroid, liver and kidney disease.
They’re like ticking time bombs inside us, waiting to go off.
Since 2015, neither PFOA nor PFOS chemicals (two of the most common PFAS) have been manufactured or used in the United States. But a lot of us are still carrying these time bombs around inside our bodies.
And now, there’s evidence that even more of us than we thought are continuing to be poisoned with these chemicals every time we turn on our faucet.
“It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals”
That’s a statement from David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a well-respected non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to protect human health and the environment through breakthrough research.
In 2018, the EWG estimated that 110 million Americans were probably contaminated with PFAs.
Now, they’re finding that this estimate was far too low.
A report co-authored by Andrews showed that, of tap water samples taken by EWG from 44 sites in 31 states and Washington D.C., only one location had no detectable PFAS.
EWG recommends a limit of 1 part per trillion of PFAS in drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is satisfied with a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion in our drinking water.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, also recommends a threshold for “minimal risk” that is ten times lower than the EPA’s recommendation.
How to avoid PFAS in your water and elsewhere
Drinking bottled water isn’t necessarily the solution. There’s no guarantee that your bottled water doesn’t contain PFAS.
It is difficult to remove PFAS from your drinking water. However, some filtration techniques are more effective than others. Granular activated carbon absorption filters, ion exchange resin filters and reverse osmosis filters work the best.
Other potential sources of PFA exposure include:
- Old Teflon nonstick cookware (Teflon is no longer made, but if you have old nonstick cookware in your home, it’s best to get rid of it)
- Scotchgard – same with old couches and chairs that are “stain-resistant.” Furniture treated with Scotchgard, made by 3M, is a hotbed of PFAS
- Grease-proof paper plates
- Fast food wrappers, the paper in your pizza box, and the lining of your microwave popcorn bag. In fact, any product meant to repel dirt or grease is suspect, including carpet and furniture treatments, sprays for leather shoes, and stain-resistant house paints
- Even your dental floss may be poisoning you.
Be aware that a product called GenX was introduced in 2009 as a safe substitute for PFOA. In experiments, GenX caused cancerous tumors in rats, but Dupont concluded that these tumor findings were “not relevant for human risk assessment”.
How to detoxify your body
There are steps you can take to slowly get rid of any PFOA and other toxins that have silently accumulated in your body.
Here, Dr. Isaac Eliaz gives you seven easy ways to get started. And here, he teaches us how to help the body cope with PFAS and other dangerous toxins with food, exercise and more.
Finally, he talks to us about foods and supplements that will aide our detox process.
- U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’: environment watchdog — Reuters
- PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported — Environmental Working Group
- Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls — Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry | CDC
- Long-awaited report on water contaminants released by HHS — CNN
- A PSA on PFAS: What are they and how can you filter them from your drinking water? — LifeStraw Water Filters & Purifiers
- Regulators Concerned Bottled Water, Not Just Tap, May Contain PFAS Contaminants — Consumer Reports