Scientists in Europe discovered that man-man “forever chemicals” in rainwater made it “unsafe to drink” around the world—even in the most remote areas like Antarctica.
According to this research there is no safe spot in the world to escape these cancer-causing chemicals in rainwater.
Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of ‘forever chemicals’, according to new research.— Euronews Green (@euronewsgreen) August 9, 2022
How has this happened and what’s the fallout? 🧵
In a new study published on August 2nd in the peer-reviewed journal of Environmental Science and Technology, researchers from ETH Zurich and Stockholm University argue that the amounts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) considered acceptable for drinking water, soil, and surface water has decreased dramatically over the past 20 years “due to new insights in their toxicity.”
Ian Cousins, a professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University and the lead author of the study explained: “There has been an astounding decline in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water in the last 20 years.”
“Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink.”
“Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink and it supplies many of our drinking water sources.”
Cousins called the decline “astounding.”
In a press release, Cousins said that the recommended safe drinking water guideline value for one chemical in particular—the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid—has dropped by 37.5 million times in the US.
“Forever chemical” are group of human-made chemicals that are known to cause cancer and don’t occur in nature. They can be found in food packaging, electronics, cosmetics, household items and cookware because they have non-stick or stain-repellent characteristics.
They are called “forever chemicals” because they don’t ever break down in the environment. The name itself exposes the meaning.
According to some findings, scientists say that these chemicals can cause infertility issues (which we are seeing in an extensive rise at the moment), increased risk of cancer, developmental delays in children and more.
But others claim that no cause and effect can be proven.
EPA warns that 'forever chemicals' pose health risks even at very low levels: The Environmental Protection Agency is warning that two compounds found in drinking water, known as PFOA and PFOS, are more dangerous than previously thought. via NBCNews https://t.co/PvKayorSzH— Jeffrey Levin 🇺🇦 (@jilevin) June 17, 2022
While one of the compounds’ manufacturer, 3M, has attempted to get rid of them for 20 years, scientists warn that some dangerous PFAS are not significantly decreasing in the atmosphere.
“The extreme persistence and continual global cycling of certain PFAS will lead to the continued exceedance of the above-mentioned guidelines,” warned study co-author and professor Martin Scheringer.
Scheringer says that because of this, “it makes sense to define a planetary boundary specifically for PFAS and, as we conclude in the paper, this boundary has now been exceeded.”
According to Jane Muncke, the managing director of the Food Packaging Forum in Switzerland who was not involved in the study says that companies shouldn’t be permitted to “benefit economically while polluting the drinking water for millions of others, and causing serious health problems.”
“The vast amounts that it will cost to reduce PFAS in drinking water to levels that are safe based on current scientific understanding need to be paid by the industry producing and using these toxic chemicals,” Muncke said.
“The time to act is now.”