This past summer I wrote a post about PFAS chemicals in farm produce. The source of the chemicals was from ground water that had been contaminated from firefighter foam used primarily on military bases. At the time, the contaminated ground water seemed relatively contained to areas in close proximity to military bases. Now, EWG has updated their database and it shows PFAS contamination of tap water in almost 1400 sites in 49 states. This is impacting up to 110 million Americans.
As a resident of New Jersey, I was shocked to learn that over 500 water sources in my state are contaminated. I went back onto the updated EWG interactive map and found that, sure enough, my town is one of those sites. While there is no federal standard for PFAS chemicals in drinking water, studies estimate the safe level at 1ppt (part per trillion). My town has 8 times that amount and one site in New Jersey exceeds that amount by more than 200,000.
According to EWG, even very low doses of PFAS chemicals in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, liver and thyroid disease, and other health problems.
What You Can Do
- Find your municipality on the EWG PFAS Contamination Map to see if your water supply in impacted. You can also check to see if there are other contaminants in your tap water.
- Contact your local government to ask questions and demand answers. Learn more here.
- If you don’t already have a water filter, invest in one that filters out the specific contaminants found in your local water. I believe the best water filter on the market is PureEffect, which removes a broad range of toxic pollutants, adjusts the quality of the water, and is made with non-toxic materials. PureEffect has recently discontinued its whole-house filter but you can meet most of your needs with their Undercounter or Countertop model and their shower filters for a lot less money than the whole-house system. For those of you still interested in a whole-house system I will be looking into other options now that PureEffect does not offer one.
- If a comprehensive system like PureEffect is not affordable, purchase a carbon-filter pitcher. While they do not remove a full range of pollutants, some do filter out PFAS chemicals.
After the holidays, I will contact my local government to find out what they plan to do to address the contamination of our water supply. I will keep you posted on my progress. Please share your stories if you find successful ways to encourage local authorities to take action.