Forever Chemicals: It's Worse Than We Thought
Hide your kids, hide your wife. PFAS, or “forever chemicals” have been established at much higher levels in drinking water than previously thought. The problem with “forever chemicals” is that they don’t break down, not only causing environmental issues but they also accumulate inside the body. PFAS is a term that encompasses a family of chemicals that are often used in everyday items. PFAS are known carcinogens as well as being detrimental to the immune system.
The contamination is widespread enough that almost everyone has PFAS in their bloodstream. According to Insider, a recent study that spanned 20 years found that women who had higher levels of PFAS in their bloodstream were 71% more likely to develop hypertension in middle age.
The main two PFAS have already been phased out by the EPA, but there are many other PFAS that have no regulation. The EPA’s new regulation this week lowers the safe amount of PFAS in drinking water to levels that are almost undetectable, meaning that basically any exposure PFAS is deemed unsafe. However, the EWG tested across the states most faucets have relatively high amounts of PFAS across the board, with some of the highest levels found in an elementary school in North Carolina.
The new standards on PFAS by the EPA is a significant shift in policy, but it’s questionable if it’s in time to solicit real-world results. Higher levels of PFAS have been found in bodies of water like lakes, and in 2020 PFAS was found in rainwater. While the EPA eliminated the two major PFAS from industrial production, there are several other forever chemicals that haven’t been touched by the policy. The chemicals that have been developed to replace the ones the EPA banned are still forever chemicals that are different but equivalent to the banned originals.