What Are PFAS Chemicals?

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What Are PFAS Chemicals?

PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are human-made chemicals that don’t break down easily. That’s because they are used to make products that resist grease, oil, stains, heat, and water. PFAS chemicals can be found in numerous substances like cleaning products, waxes, paints, food packaging, fire-fighting foams, and more.

The Dangers of PFAS Contamination

Humans and animals can be exposed to PFAS chemicals in the air, in the soil, and in water. This can result in PFAS in drinking water, the environment, and even building up in fish and other wildlife.

PFAS chemicals are so dangerous because they don’t easily break down. Scientists are still unable to figure out how long it takes for these chemicals to disappear. That means the chance of being exposed to them is very high. In fact, a study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found PFAS in the blood of 97% of Americans.

While it’s still unclear what the long-term effects of PFAS exposure are for certain, research suggests high levels of PFAS may lead to health issues like:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer
  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • Decreases in infant birth weights

Being aware of the potential threats of PFAS is the first step toward staying safe. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created an interactive map so you can also see if there may be PFAS contamination in your area. Even if you’re not in an area with PFAS contamination, it’s still important to maintain safe practices to keep you and your loved ones healthy. One of the ways to do this is by making sure your drinking water is safe.

How to Reduce PFAS in Water

One of the best ways to reduce PFAS chemicals in drinking water is by using water filters with activated carbon. Activated carbon treatment helps to remove PFAS from water by adsorbing the contaminants. Adsorption is a physical and chemical process where a substance—like PFAS—sticks on a surface at the junction between the liquid and solid phases.

Activated carbon is often referred to as granular activated carbon (GAC) and is made from organic materials with high carbon contents, like coal, lignite, and wood. Activated carbon materials are highly porous and have a large surface area for contaminants to adsorb to. This type of water treatment reduces the level of PFAS contaminants and makes for safer drinking water.

In order to make sure you and your loved ones are safe and avoid PFAS chemicals in water, consider using a water filter with activated carbon. At Aqua Clara, we provide access to clean water by designing, developing, and disseminating clean water technologies to benefit those who live on less than $2 per day. We also aim to provide safe drinking water by offering our Universal Cartridge Filter, which reduces many different contaminants. You can purchase a filter directly from our website, or they are also now available at Wal-Mart and on Amazon

Our Universal Cartridge Filter fits most household filter products, includes a rubber seal to protect against contamination, and will purify your home's drinking water at a reasonable price. The proceeds from these filters help fund our projects all over the world, so consider helping us make a difference by purchasing a filter today!

About Aqua Clara International

Scientists long ago discovered how to purify unsafe water.  To us, the central issue has been in designing solutions that are both sustainable and scalable and that can reach the millions in need while at the same time continuing to function without sustained outside input.  Our target populations are those individuals and families who live on $2 per day or less.

We are a technology transfer organization. Our niche in clean water continues to be in designing science-based technologies that utilize locally available materials where possible and then transferring what we learn to those working in areas of need.  The cost of our technologies varies by country and is dependent on the prevailing costs of raw materials, such as plastic containers, PVC piping, sand, etc. Learn more by visiting our website.

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Aqua Clara International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 37-1518655)