Researchers at Stockholm University have been conducting work based on the presence of PFAs for over a decade. Recently, they found that these harmful chemicals have spread far and wide, reaching the rainwater and snow in the most remote locations on earth. Due to these discoveries, rainwater on planet earth is officially undrinkable. It has been found to contain dangerous levels of PFAs. These have been coined ‘forever chemicals‘ due to their persistence in the environment. They often take thousands of years to degrade.
PFAs are created through the manufacturing of textiles and many other commonly used products. These include non-stick frying pans, cleaning products, and cosmetics. They have leached into the environment and are now riddling with the water, animals, and humans of planet earth. 3M, a chemical company, started manufacturing PFAs over 70 years ago, but by 2002 they phased them out. However, over the past 20 years, knowledge of PFAs has increased tremendously and led to a decline in their potency in drinking water and soil. But, levels of these harmful chemicals have not noticeably decreased in the atmosphere. The significant degradation time mixed with the natural cycle of the earth has caused PFAs to continually cycle back into the atmosphere from the environment.
Levels of ‘forever chemicals’ collected at global locations from 2010 to now.
The lead author of the study on the guidelines of PFAs, Professor Ian Cousins, said, “The drinking water guideline value for one well-known substance in the PFAs class, namely the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has declined by 37.5 million times in the USA. Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink. Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink and it supplies many of our drinking water sources.”
Unfortunately, cancer, immune system disorders, infertility, and obesity have all been linked to these chemicals. As their potency in the environment increases, so does the risk of these human health concerns.
These chemicals leaking into the environment are particularly hard to reverse, leading to the constant exceedance of the guidelines. There is very little that can be done to protect human health from the implication of PFAs and reduce their contamination.
Sign this petition to urge the EPA to regulate PFAs and clean up communities to stop the spread of dangerous chemicals.
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