What are Forever Chemicals in Drinking Water?

99% Client Satisfaction

Industry Leading Warranty

Family Owned & Operated

Emergency Services

Financing Available

What are Forever Chemicals in Drinking Water?

It’s one of those terms that is so catchy it can only have been dreamed up by a journalist, hoping to make a complicated subject more attractive and understandable to the reader. But it is important to know at least a little about the reality behind the snappy headlines, to get a balanced picture of something that is becoming increasingly well-known and which many people find very disturbing.

So-called “forever chemicals”, such as may be found in drinking water, are officially called PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances. This is one of those cases where the popular name is useful because the technical one is hard to understand and even pronounce. To further complicate matters, within the general category of PFAS are similar substances called PFOS and PFOA.

The reason they are called forever chemicals is that they are extremely difficult to break down and destroy – and that is the reason for their success in the industries where they were introduced. PFAS have been in use since the mid-20th century, when a research scientist working in the US came across these chemical compounds apparently by accident and inadvertently started a whole new industry.

The best-known example of this is the non-stick surfaces of cooking pans, which the world knows by the brand name Teflon.

But this is not the only use of PFAS. Other uses include water-repellent clothing such as you might find in “outdoor” stores that sell garments for rambling, hiking, mountain biking etc. Another use is in firefighting foam, so it is easy to see that the invention of these compounds might have been seen as a good thing at the time. It wasn’t until much later, in the 1990s, that health concerns were raised, with apparent links with a long list of issues, ranging from various cancers to risks in pregnancy. In response to these concerns, the manufacturers looked for alternative compounds that would do the same job, but what they came up with, known as GenX, was subsequently shown to be similarly harmful. Research continues into exactly how humans can be affected by exposure to PFAS and how dangerous they are.

The fact is, though, that there are PFAS in drinking water in many parts of the US and around the world, including both public water and private wells. If you are concerned about the presence of PFAS in your water, the only way to find out is to take a sample and have it tested at a certified laboratory. If your water supply comes from a well, it is recommended you have it tested annually to keep an eye on what it contains – and PFAS constitute just one of many potential hazards.

The good news is that forever chemicals can be removed or drastically reduced through several means of filtration including activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and nanofiltration.

If this all sounds very complicated and outside most people’s sphere of understanding, the logical answer is to put it in the hands of experts who spend their life ensuring people’s water supply is not just safe but of optimal quality.