How to Remove PFAs from Water

PFAs are present in 99% of people tested. This article talks about their prevalence and how to remove PFAs from water in your house.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances were invented in the 1950s. They are used in products like non-stick pans and stain or water resistant carpeting or furniture. Now they are everywhere. I recently learned that they are present in the Glide floss I am using. We take in PFAs through eating and drinking and contact with products…like floss.

Here’s the best article I’ve found that talks about the research being done: 

  • ” Within 30 years, they were everywhere: in non-stick pans, raincoats, food wrappings, fire-fighting foams and all kinds of stain-proof coatings. Chemists would later call this fluorinated family ‘per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances’, or PFASs. Their carbon–fluorine bonds are among the strongest known in nature — so the molecules don’t degrade.”
  • “A class action lawsuit against DuPont led to some of the first research on the effect of PFAs and C8, a variation. The result was an epidemiological study of almost 70,000 people which, by 2012, had linked C8 to diseases including kidney and testicular cancers, pregnancy-induced hypertension, ulcerative colitis and high cholesterol (see go.nature.com/2wzex8e).”
  • Read more here:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00441-1

Most likely you have PFAs in your body.

Even more alarming your children have most likely been exposed to PFA. This can affect their health throughout their entire lives.

According to a 2017 review of 64 studies on children and PFAS concluded that scientists are learning that childhood exposure during developmental periods may negatively impact a person’s lifelong health. They concluded that this is true “even at doses that have little effect in adults.”

Read more about that here

http://savethewater.org/2018/09/17/pfas-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-national-spotlight/

PFAs can be present in your drinking water. And they may not be listed on your water report. Sadly, a new individual has been put in charge of drinking water at USEPA who believes that PFAs are not a concern. This means that nothing will be done about PFAs in water during the reign of the Trump administration, maybe longer. USEPA is currently working to reduce protections for consumers when it comes to water standards.

You must protect yourself when it comes to removing PFAs and other toxins

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/02/trump-put-a-koch-official-in-charge-of-americas-drinking-water

How to remove PFAs from water

Your best bet is to protect yourself. To remove PFAs from your water, then I would suggest a combination of a whole house water filter plus reverse osmosis for drinking. The whole house filter will reduce or remove them and the reverse osmosis will remove anything that gets past the filter. Here is an article that talks about how to remove PFAs from drinking water:

https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/reducing-pfas-drinking-water-treatment-technologies

So once you remove PFAs from your water, what about the PFAs in your body?

It appears that there are no good mechanisms for ridding the body of PFAs.

If you can eliminate your intake of PFAs then research suggests the amount in your body would naturally reduce by about half over four years. But that could be a challenge. There are now many, many products that use PFAs. You have to eliminate those and then be proactive about detoxing your body. I couldn’t find any specific detox recommendations. However, one study suggests this:

The liver is the main organ of detoxification, so supporting it with the nutrients that it uses up in the detox process is a positive step. Lipoic acid, vitamin C, glutathione, and its precursor NAC are all a good place to start. Basically he’s suggesting you take supplements that support liver function.

https://www.needs.com/product/NDNL-1704-03

PFAs, including PFOAs and PFOS, are not going away anytime soon. And they are already in products in your home. I thought I was living pretty clean until I found out it’s in the floss I use (Glide).

PFAs are in 99% of people tested. If you want to remove PFAs from your water I suggest a combination of whole house water filter plus reverse osmosis at the kitchen sink. If you’re on a budget, then I’d use the reverse osmosis system. I like the redundancy of whole house and reverse osmosis because you have a better chance of limiting exposure to toxins. There are many more unregulated toxins in our water that we have yet to discover. The best thing to do is to protect yourself.

 

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About James McMahon

Studied ecology at the University of Illinois, mountain survival at Eastern Washing University, Deep Ecology at Naropa, River Ecology with The Nature Conservancy and Luna Leopold
This entry was posted in Exposure to Toxins, Reverse Osmosis, Whole House Water Filter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to Remove PFAs from Water

  1. J.Q. Public says:

    Where the HECK is the FDA in all this? Aren’t they the watchdog for all of these things? Oh I guess they are not after all. Must be a nice job. Sorry FDA employees just thought maybe someone really cared about the public and that you guys collected your salaries for a real reason and not just trying to pretend to be a real organization who give a HOOT about the common guy. Most of us don’t have filtration systems to prevent this level of contamination. Hey maybe that is why Europe is banning many of the plastics associated with food handling. Where are you folks on this issue? I suppose that this is one method of population control most of us haven’t thought about. Sorry people just frustrated with organizations who claim to represent the people but have other more important agendas on their minds.

    • Hi J.Q. –

      The responsible agency would be USEPA, not FDA. Decisions about these things is limited by politics. For instance, the scientists at EPA may recommend a certain limit for a contaminant. An example is arsenic. During the Clinton administration they recommended that the arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) be reduced from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 3 ppb. This was in fact based on research about the health impacts of arsenic. But the limit was set at 10 ppb, significantly above 3 but way below the 50 it had been. Some consumers think oh well if 50 ppb was ok why is it suddenly 10 ppb? Well, the answer is that we’re constantly learning about the effects of the contaminants in water on health. But when USEPA sets a limit that means every city in the country has to meet that limit. That in turn means they’re spending money to reach the new limit and so water rates and/or taxes have to increase to pay for that. Congress is sensitive to ‘unfunded mandates’ and so the issue becomes political.

      Here’s an article which focuses on PFA in Southern California, but gives you a good idea on the regulatory limits being looked at: https://www.ocregister.com/2019/08/30/pfas-toxins-found-in-drinking-water-throughout-southern-california/
      In the case of PFAs no one even thought about them for years much less realizing they were in our water. Perchlorate is similar. A component of jet fuel perchlorate has been found in 98% of breastmilk of new mothers. Not good.

      Pharmaceuticals are in our drinking water when the source is a river with cities upstream. These have not yet been deemed to have an impact even though scientists in Europe have proven that they impact cell function. And the fish downstream of Minneapolis and Boulder, CO are all female, same is true in other cities. Eventually these will be regulated.

      I think the point is that you have to protect yourself. You need to buy a water filter which works for your water source. It is your only option. You cannot rely on government to eliminate all of these contaminants. It is beyond their capability. Just my two cents. I can relate to your frustration.

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