In recent years, awareness has grown about a new type of contaminant in drinking water supplies. These new contaminants, PFAS, which stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, pose potential health risks if consumed. This article will explore what PFAS are and how to filter them from drinking water.
What are PFAS?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals widely used in industrial and commercial applications. These chemicals are known for their resistance to heat and their ability to repel water and oil. Therefore, these chemicals are often used in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, water-proof coatings, and flame retardants. Two of the most well-known PFAS compounds are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Because of the strength of these chemicals, these substances do not break down naturally and can persist in the environment and human body, if consumed, for a long time. Because of this, PFAS have been given the nickname “forever chemicals.”
Health Risks Associated with PFAS
Recent research has found that exposure to PFAS can have negative health effects including:
1) Cancer: Long-term exposure to certain PFAS chemicals has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly kidney and testicular cancer.
2) Weakened immune system: PFAS exposure may weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
3) Hormone imbalance: PFAS can interfere with the endocrine system, potentially leading to hormonal imbalances.
4) Developmental issues: Exposure to PFAS during pregnancy may lead to low birth weight, developmental delays, and other adverse effects in newborns.
5) Liver and kidney damage: Some studies have suggested a link between PFAS exposure and liver and kidney damage.
How to filter PFAS
Filtering PFAS from you drinking water is an essential step in safeguarding your health and the health of your family. Seek these filtration methods to address PFAS contaminants:
· Activated Carbon Filters: Activated carbon filters can be effective at removing some types of PFAS, though the exact efficacy depends on the type of PFAS and the characteristics of the filter being used. These filters work by adsorbing PFAS compounds and water passes through the porous carbon material. When using activated carbon as a filtration method, it is crucial to replaced the filters at the recommended filter cycles. For more information on activated carbon filters see our article on the CommonTypes of Home Water Filters
· Reverse osmosis: Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration systems are highly effective at removing PFAS from drinking water. RO is considered one of the most reliable methods for the removal of PFAS and a wide range of other contaminants, including heavy metals, chemical contaminants, bacteria, and viruses. Exact removal efficiency may vary based on the specific types and concentrations of PFAS in the water, as well as the quality and maintenance of the RO system. Regular maintenance, such as changing filters and ensuring the membrane is in good condition, is essential for optimal performance.
PFAS can pose dangerous risks when consumed and more adverse health effects are still being discovered. To ensure that you and your family have access to safe and clean drinking water, it’s essential to invest in an appropriate water filtration system.
Coway water filtration and dispensing systems feature activated carbon filters as well as reverse osmosis filters to target PFAS in water. With Coway’s Home Visit Service, filter technicians make regular visits to replace filters and ensure the proper maintenance of the system.