Commonly known as PFCs and PFOA's (per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals), these chemicals are put into products to make them more resistant to stains, grease and water, and may also be used in some food packaging, as well as in some firefighting materials. Because they help reduce friction, they are also used in a variety of other industries, including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics.
Anytime a fabric is labeled waterproof, water-resistant, or stain resistant it is most likely made with PFCs. They break down very slowly in the environment.
Where are PFC’s found?
PFCs have been detected in drinking water all over the United States in both fresh and saltwater.
Throughout the world these chemicals are found in water bodies, even in the deep sea and have also been detected in remote areas, such as the Arctic and Antarctic and polar ice caps. Some PFC's accumulate in fish living in contaminated waters.
The metal, paper and textiles industries use a wide range of products containing PFCs. Monitoring studies suggested that where PFC's were detected, drinking water treatment did not remove these chemicals. However, new data show that PFC's are effectively removed by granular activated carbon absorbers.
Some PFC’S can dissolve in water. are water-soluble and spread by way of water flow. Therefore,drinking water may be a major source of exposure.The worldwide spread – for instance, in Arctic snow – raises the question of how the chemicals are able to reach even remote areas. Chemists have shown that they are distributed globally by means of airstreams
PFCs can be released into the environment from landfill sites where products and materials that contain these chemicals are sent for disposal, and into ground and surface water through sewer discharges. The biggest environmental concern about PFC's is that they do not break down in the environment and can travel long distances in water and air currents. and remain in the environment for a long time.
Why should I be concerned about PFC’s
PFC's have been shown to be toxic to some animals, and because they don’t break down, they can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in some wildlife, including fish. This means that fish and animals higher in the food chain may accumulate high concentrations of PFC's in their bodies. The chemicals are also known as endocrine disrupters and have been linked to so many health problems – cancer, miscarriages, thyroid problems,birth defects, reproductive problems, and other serious health problems that they have been phased out in the US and essentially banned in Europe.
How Can I lower My Risk of PFC's in my drinking water.
Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters have been recognized as effective technologies for reducing PFC compounds from water. Install a water filter for drinking water (even in your shower or bath)
New Studies Highlight Dangers of PFC Contamination in Drinking Water
Recent studies published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters (ESTL) and Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) examine the presence and effects of drinking water contamination by poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals, part of a broader category of substances known as perfluorochemicals (PFC), have been linked to negative effects including high cholesterol, hormone suppression, cancer, and decreased child immune system health.