PFOA and PFOS: WHAT THEY ARE AND TREATMENT OPTIONS

PFOA AND PFOS CONTAMINATION CONCERNS

There have been several well-documented PFOA and PFOS contamination events around the country that have sparked public debates and concerns about drinking water contamination.  As more information becomes available it is important to know what these contaminants are, where they come from, potential health risks and how to properly treat and remove them from drinking water.  In South Eastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been actively monitoring and investigating multiple locations for PFOA and PFOS contamination in groundwater systems.

WHAT ARE PFOA AND PFOS?

According to the DEP, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are man-made and do not occur naturally in the environment. PFOA and PFOS molecule chains are made of Carbon and Fluorine atoms.  Due to their molecular structure, they are toxic, resident to degradation and therefore persist in the environment for extended periods of time.  PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals.  They have been used to make cookware, carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains.  They are also used in firefighting foams and in several industrial processes.

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

PFOA and PFOS pose potential health risks in both humans and animals.  Health Advisories have been posted across the country for drinking water sources, livestock contamination, and for commercial fishing.  PFOA and PFOS can cause liver and thyroid disease, developmental and reproductive issues and cancer.  PFOS and PFOA are most commonly absorbed through ingestion and can enter the body through inhalation.  Co-operative efforts through state and federal governmental agencies like the EPA and Public Health Departments continue to study and monitor long-term affects.

PFOA & PFOS TREATMENT AND REMOVAL FROM DRINKING WATER

Fortunately, there are solid treatment options for PFOA and PFOS reduction and removal.  Both Reverse Osmosis incorporating Activated Carbon and Activated Carbon filtration have proved effective treatment options, especially in combination with one another.  An effective system needs to be properly sized based on water demand and proper contact time.  Master Water Conditioning offers multiple treatment options, and will work with you to create the system you need.  To inquire about treatment options we provide, contact Master Water Conditioning or an approved local Master Water Conditioning Distributor for more information.

The links below provide more information on PFOA and PFOS:

EPA's PFAS Education and Awareness Page

PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories in Pennsylvania

Approved PFOA & PFOS Testing Laboratories

EPA's Efforts to Address PFAS

Drinking Water Health Advisory for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate