Advice BlogWater TreatmentStop PFAS Water Contamination-Part 2

July 2, 2021by Ed Gabrish0

Our last post discussed water contamination’s environmental and health impact due to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are common ingredients in nonstick pans, waterproof clothing, and many other products that have a slippery coating.

PFAS have spread throughout our country’s drinking water systems and are especially prevalent in New Jersey, where industrial factories produced them for a long time. Most disturbingly, scientists have found PFAS in the bloodstream of nearly all adults in the US. PFAS do not biodegrade and tend to accumulate over time.

Medical research on PFAS dates back to the 1950s, and some research suggests links between PFAS and many medical conditions, including cancer, increased cholesterol, and lower infant birth rates. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stop PFAS water contamination, but removing PFAS could decrease your chances of acquiring cancer and other diseases.

How to remove PFAS from water

It is tough to remove PFAS from drinking water. Ordinary methods such as boiling water will not remove PFAS. That Brita© filter might help your water taste better but will not eliminate PFAS.

However, it is still possible to remove PFAS from water. The EPA lists four possible methods:

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC): A GAC filtration system passes water through a filter made of tiny grains of carbon. This process is like a Brita filter, but the grains are much smaller, less than 10 microns wide.
  • Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC): A PAC filtration system mixes water with powdered carbon, which sticks to the PFAS, allowing their removal.
  • Ion Exchange Resins (IER): A IER filtration system adds tiny hydrocarbon beads, called resins, to the water. They attract the PFAS like magnets and then filters out of the water like normal.
  • Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis pass water through a membrane dotted with tiny nanometer-sized pores. The PFAS are too large to pass through the pores.

These techniques vary in terms of price and complexity.

Most disturbingly, scientists have found PFAS in the bloodstream of nearly all adults in the US. PFAS do not biodegrade and tend to accumulate over time.

Whole House Water Treatment Options

The best way to protect yourself from PFAS and other harmful chemicals is to install a whole house water filter. A whole-house water treatment filtration system, like the PIONEER system, will provide clean, safe drinking water but also ensure clothes washing, dishwashing, and showering use the safest possible water.

Made by Enpress, the PIONEER system doesn’t just remove PFAS from the water. Instead, this system utilizes a 0.5-micron filter, which removes large quantities of the most harmful contaminants, including lead, giardia, crypto bacteria, chlorine, and chloramine.

A Schaible’s Plumbing technician typically completes the installation in one day. The device measures 24’’ by 24’’, about the same size as a water softener. And Schaible’s installs it right where the water supply enters the house so that you can be sure that it filters all available water.

Don’t forget to store water in a stainless steel or glass water bottle, and avoid the chemicals in bottled water, too.

Pros and Cons of having a whole house water filter

The advantage to having a water filter for your entire house is obvious: you can relax and stop worrying about harmful chemicals like PFAS getting into your water. As a result, you and your family may enjoy a decreased risk of cancer and other illnesses.

But installing a water filter, like any other appliance, does come with responsibilities. Most importantly, a high-quality filter needs regular maintenance and repair. Schaible’s Plumbing makes this easy by providing annual inspections and water filter cartridge replacement.

You might get so used to the idea of having clean water in your house that you shy away from drinking other water options. And you should, as bottled water contains tons of contaminants anyway.

And keep in mind if you are contemplating a move in the future, you cannot bring your filter with you. But, you can install a new one in your new home.

You Can’t Escape Them All

Having a water filtration system in your home does not mean it is impossible to ingest PFAS. PFAS can find its way into your body through other means, such as consuming foods stored in plastic or cooked on a Teflon® surface, for example. Also, any plant or animal you eat may have been exposed to PFAS and can pass it on to you when you eat it.

The good news is that those sources of PFAS are minimal compared to drinking water. So if you remove PFAS from your drinking water, you will already have drastically reduced your PFAS consumption.

You can reduce your PFAS consumption further by limiting the amount of plastic and nonstick coating in your kitchen, and also, if you choose, consuming only organic food grown on farms that restrict their use of industrial processing.

The good news is that those sources of PFAS are minimal compared to drinking water. So if you remove PFAS from your drinking water, you will already have drastically reduced your PFAS consumption.

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