Should You Be Concerned with PFAS Forever Chemicals?

Learn about the risks of “forever chemicals” and how PSL Water Guy can help protect your family with our effective filtration systems.

If you’re a concerned resident of Port St. Lucie looking to protect your family’s health, you may have heard about a class of chemicals known as PFAs- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) and are wondering about potential risks. As your trusted local water filtration PSL Water Guy wanted to shed some light on this important issue.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals’ ‘ because they do not break down naturally and have been accumulating both in the environment and our bodies for decades. Commonly used in non-stick cookware, food packaging, and firefighting foams, PFAS have been linked to health problems like cancer, liver and thyroid disease, and developmental delays in children.

  • The EPA’s current guidelines may not be low enough to protect public health
  • Exposure can come from multiple sources like food, dust, and consumer products

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll address questions like how PFAS affect our community, options for water filtration systems to remove them, and what actions residents and local leaders can take. My goal is to give you the facts and resources needed to make informed decisions about your family’s water safety here in Port St. Lucie.

What are PFAS Forever Chemicals?

You may have heard the term “forever chemicals” thrown around when discussing emerging water contaminants. But what exactly are PFAS and why should we care about them? Let me break it down simply.

PFAS is an umbrella term for over 9,000 human-made chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The “per” and “poly” part refers to their structure – carbon chains with fluorine atoms attached. This unique molecular makeup is both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, it gives products treated with PFAS, like non-stick cookware and water-resistant clothing, their stain- and heat-resistant properties. However, it also makes PFAS incredibly difficult to break down once they enter the environment.

  • PFAS don’t degrade like other pollutants. They are mobile, persisting for decades in water, soil, and living organisms.
  • Their carbon-fluorine bonds are among the strongest in organic chemistry, enabling PFAS to accumulate over periods in our bodies and the places we call home.

Two of the most widely produced PFAS are PFOA and PFOS. Used for decades in products such as Teflon, they have become ubiquitous global contaminants found in nearly all Americans and wildlife.

  • Studies show these “parent” PFAS building blocks eventually break apart into even more persistent “daughter” PFAS compounds in the environment.
  • As a result, exposure to PFAS is nearly impossible to avoid altogether in today’s world. 

So in summary – while useful in applications like firefighting foam, the unique “forever” properties of PFAS mean these chemicals don’t respect property or state lines. Their persistence poses serious concerns about the impact on public health and the environment for generations to come.

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Where are PFAS Found?

Now that we understand what PFAS are, the next logical question is – where exactly might we come into contact with them? Turns out these “forever chemicals” are nearly ubiquitous in our modern environment.

One of the primary ways PFAS enters the human body is through drinking water sources near contaminated areas. Due to their widespread use since the 1940s, industrial sites and military bases where firefighting foam was used are often ground zeroes for high PFAS levels seeping into wells and aquifers.

  • Several Department of Defense installations across the U.S. have contaminated surrounding communities’ drinking water with PFAS from decades of training exercises.
  • Industrial zones like chemical plants are also common sources of PFAS water pollution through improper disposal. Many municipalities now test drinking water as a precaution.

Beyond water, other major exposure routes include food packaging like microwave popcorn bags, fast food wrappers and pizza boxes which are treated with PFAS to resist grease and water. Over time, these chemicals migrate into the food itself.

  • Non-stick cookware like Teflon paisare another source, as the coatings flake off with use and are inhaled as dust or ingested. It’s wise to use cookware labelleded PFAS-free.

Indoor environments are also concerning, as carpets, upholstery, and stain-resistant fabrics may release PFAS in household dust which we unwittingly consume. Outdoor gear like camping equipment can leach PFAS as well.

In summary, given their widespread use since WWII, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all PFAS contacts. However, knowing potential sources of exposure empowers us to make informed choices and advocate for safer alternatives.

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Health Risks of PFAS Exposure

Now that we understand how PFAs have become, a natural next question is – what kind of health effects might prolonged exposure cause? Over the past few decades, an alarming body of research has emerged linking certain PFAS to diseases and conditions.

Some of the strongest evidence ties long-chain PFAS like PFOA and PFOS to cancers such as testicular, kidney and pancreatic. The EPA currently considers these two PFAS as likely human carcinogens based on animal studies.

  • One analysis found residents in communities with PFAS-contaminated drinking water were up to three times more likely to develop certain cancers.
  • Research also links high PFAS levels in human blood to increased risk of ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and pregnancy/birth complications.

Children may be especially vulnerable, as developing organ systems are more sensitive to toxins. Some studies associate maternal PFAS exposure with:

  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Increased risk of asthma and attention behavior issues
  • Lower birth weights in newborns

While more research is still needed, the weight of evidence suggests long-term exposure to even low levels of certain PFAS may negatively impact human health. This is concerning given their persistence and the multiple ways we encounter them daily.

Protecting our families and future generations is so important throughout Port St. Lucie. By making informed choices and advocating for safer alternatives, we can help reduce PFAS risks in our community in both the short and long run.

Filtration Options for PFAS

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Now that we understand the potential health impacts, you may be wondering how to assess your family’s PFAS exposure through things like your drinking water. The good news is there are reliable filtration options available.

As your trusted local water expert, I offer comprehensive evaluations.

The two main certified options are granular activated carbon (GAC) and reverse osmosis (RO).

  • GAC filters are a cost-effective whole-home solution, reliably reducing PFAS by 90-95% when maintained properly.
  • RO provides the highest removal at 99% but works best under the sink due to water waste and costs.

Here at PSL Water Guy, we carry under-sink RO systems perfect for families or those on private wells. Our whole-home filtration units are top-rated for maximum protection.

With experience, you can trust we’ll get to the bottom of any water issues. Please contact us today to discuss plans and the filtration solution that fits your needs and budget. Let’s work to ensure the health of our community.

Taking Action on PFAS Pollution

Now that we understand the risks of PFAS, it’s only natural to want to take action to protect our local community. As residents and business owners here in Port St. Lucie, there are several proactive steps we can take.

On the individual level, choosing PFAS-free alternatives and filtering water as needed are important short-term solutions. But to truly curb this issue, we need to address PFAS at the source.

That’s why supporting ongoing remediation efforts at contaminated sites is key. Local leaders are working hard to clean up areas like the former PSL Airport and Fire Station 5 where firefighting foam caused groundwater pollution.

  • Contacting our city commissioners to maintain cleanup funding and demand timely action can help these projects move forward expeditiously.
  • We can also advocate for state regulations requiring polluters to pay remediation costs rather than burdening taxpayers.

Banning unnecessary PFAS in products and phasing out existing uses is another long-term solution worth supporting. Many municipalities now prohibit PFAS in things like food packaging and carpets.

  • Speaking up at public meetings and to our state representatives indicates this health issue matters to PSL residents.
  • Together our voices can accelerate development and safer chemical policies.

By staying informed and engaged, each small action adds up to big progress. With continued vigilance and community cooperation, I’m confident we can reduce PFAS risks here and protect future generations. Our health and environment are worth fighting for!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does PFAS last?

PFAS are truly forever chemicals – some don’t break down for over 1,000 years! That’s longer than recorded human history. While every compound behaves differently, most PFAS persist for decades in our bodies once exposed. This is why reducing new sources is so important.

2. What PFAS exposure levels pose risks?

The EPA’s current guidelines may underestimate health threats, according to some experts. Any exposure is concerning given how PFAS accumulate over time. I recommend testing your water supply and choosing certified filters for peace of mind. 

3. Which filtration systems remove PFAS?

Here at PSL Water Guy, we’ve seen great success with granular activated carbon (GAC) filters for whole-home solutions. They reliably reduce PFAS by 90-95% when maintained properly. Reverse osmosis is also excellent but works best under the sink due to water waste.

4. What can local governments do?

Funding ongoing cleanup projects, passing regulations to reduce uses and hold polluters accountable, and banning unnecessary PFAS in products are all impactful steps. With community support, our leaders can curb this issue at its source!

We understand the importance of clean and safe drinking water, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of your loved ones. By providing comprehensive information on PFAs and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, we aim to empower concerned residents of Port St. Lucie to make informed decisions about their water quality. Our reliable filtration systems are specifically designed to remove these harmful chemicals, ensuring that your family can enjoy clean and healthy water every day. Don’t compromise your family’s well-being – trust PSL Water Guy for all your water filtration needs. Contact us today to learn more about our products and how we can help protect your family from the risks of “forever chemicals”.

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My name is Josh and I am the owner of PSL Water Guy. I got into water treatment a few years back when I realized I wanted better water for my home and my family. What started as a simple upgrade to my home became a passion for providing better water throughout Saint Lucie County. While Saint Lucie does a great job of treating and disinfecting local city water, legal limits of chemicals do remain in the water. Additionally, well water users struggle with iron and sulfur rich water. Whether city or well water, a home, or a business, PSL Water Guy has worked hard throughout the years to perfect water treatment options and is ready to bring you the best water possible!