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  • Environmental Activist Erin Brockovich Takes on Corporates Over Water Contamination Issues

    Environmental activist Erin Brockovich met with residents of West Michigan last month to encourage those who have been affected by water contamination to join a class action lawsuit that is being filed against the companies that have caused the contamination.

    When it comes to taking on the big guys, Erin Brockovich has proved her mettle. In 1991 she investigated and reported on the effect of water contamination on the health of residents of Hinkley, a small Californian town. The groundbreaking story was made into a thrilling Hollywood movie, named after her, with the lead role played by Julia Roberts.

    Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich

    "I got involved in a situation many years ago in Hinckley with people," Brockovich said in an interview with Fox News. "I believed them I did not think they were making up stories, my common sense was telling me something wasn't right."

    After conducting a lengthy investigation, Brockovich exposed the extent and impact of groundwater contamination, and ultimately helped the residents of Hinkley win a staggering $333 million lawsuit — the largest in US history.

    So what got Brockovich so interested in West Michigan?

    "I was home and fired up my morning computer because I get emails from 126 countries and territories and I had over 50 the first go-around coming from different sections of the county but they were all about Wolverine and PFAs," Brockovich told Fox News.

    Many West Michigan residents who have been adversely affected by hazardous PFA chemicals (Berkey PFA Removal Tests), that have seeped into their drinking water supply from Wolverine's chemical disposal sites have sought Brockovich's help. And Brockovich, who is aware of the scope and scale of the problem, is keen to assist them with their fight.

    "In Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Minnesota, now Michigan, Colorado, California. It`s a bad actor and it`s a big problem and it`s wide spread," she explains in the Fox interview.

    Concerned West Michigan residents affected by water contamination hope that Brockovich's input with a lawsuit filed on the 1st December 2017 will provide them with answers they so desperately seek.

    "When they have the truth they at least have something tangible that they can work with, that they can talk to doctors about, that they can learn about and that is how we best protest ourselves - through information and awareness," explains Brockovich.

    But the question remains, will a big payout from Wolverine Worldwide and 3M resolve the issue? It's not going to make people better and it's not going to bring back loved ones who have succumbed to illnesses linked to the contamination.

    But Brockovich stands firm. For her, it's not about the money, it's largely about companies taking accountability for their actions or lack thereof, and compensating victims to some degree. Brockovich has fought this battle before and won, and plans to stand beside the residents of West Michigan as they take on the big corporations in their David versus Goliath quest.

    It's time that residents take a stand against corporations that pollute critical water sources and endanger people's health. And even though no amount of money in the world will bring back deceased loved ones, it can force polluters to clean up their act. Hitting corporations with hefty law suits is not only bad for public relations but more importantly it hits them where it hurts them most — it hurts them financially, and ultimately affects their profits.



  • PFOA Contamination of Drinking Water More Widespread than Initially Reported

    After testing drinking water from public water systems around the country last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that 1% of the water samples tested were contaminated with the carcinogenic chemical PFOA which was used in Teflon coatings commonly found on non-stick household products. Besides being associated with cancer, the chemical can damage the immune systems of children and can cause other serious health issues even at low levels. But according the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the company that analyzed the water samples says that it is more likely that over 20% of those samples were contaminated with PFOA.

    A Teflon Coated Pan A Teflon Coated Pan

    The disparity lies in the fact that the EPA only requires public water utilities to report PFOA contamination when it is present above a minimum level, and this level is ten times higher than most laboratories can detect implementing the testing method proposed by the EPA.

    The laboratory that originally analyzed the water samples reanalyzed over 10,000 samples collected between 2013-2015, including samples that contained low levels of PFOA which the EPA were not notified about. They found more than 20% of the water samples contained PFOA. While they didn't assess how many other public water systems this affects, and by extension how many more consumers are exposed to the contaminant via their drinking water, they report that the number of people affected is certainly far higher than the 7 million the EPA acknowledges are affected.

    Chemical manufacturers have pushed for higher reporting limits, voicing their concern that testing labs would struggle to measure a clean sample as the labs themselves were highly contaminated. By pushing the reporting levels for PFOA higher, the EPA is in effect providing a loophole for polluters to get away with contaminating drinking water sources, as the agency only needs to set a legal safety standard if the contamination is considered sufficiently widespread.

    In 2015, after analyzing PFOA data from water samples collected in New Jersey using a far lower level of detection and reporting, the EWG pointed out that using the EPA's level of detection would have missed 75% of the PFOA contamination found by the state.

    But according to the EWG: "Even with the new analysis, all of the PFOA detections nationwide exceed what the best current, independent science says is safe. That level is 1 part per trillion (ppt), which EWG has adopted as a health-based drinking water standard.

    "Based on widespread exposure already occurring through food and other routes, government scientists in New Jersey and Germany say there may actually be be no safe level of drinking water exposure to PFOA and similar compounds in the family of highly fluorinated chemicals known as PFCs or PFASs. Yet the EPA has not set a legal limit for these chemicals, only a non-binding health advisory level of 70 ppt for PFOA and its close chemical cousin PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M's Scotchgard."

    Yet some officials are taking the health threat seriously and are taking a proactive approach to protecting consumers from PFOA. New Jersey will be setting a legal safety limit of 14 parts per trillion for PFOA in drinking water, which although still rather high is the highest in the country.

    While PFOA and PFOS chemicals have been phased out due to their associated health risks and are no longer manufactured or used in America, they still persist in the environment. Also, the chemicals used to substitute them have not been adequately tested prior to being rushed into the market to fill the void, and according to the EWG, they too are a source of toxic drinking water contaminants.

    The EWG says that while the PFC contamination risk is not going to go away anytime soon, the EPA has shown no inclination to review and enforce safer limits for drinking water. The EWG advises other states across the nation to follow the lead set by Vermont and New Jersey, and take action to limit contamination of their drinking water by PFOA and other hazardous PFCs.

    The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFOA, PFOS, PFAA contaminates).  Berkey water filter Perfluorinated Chemical test results can be found here.

  • Congressman Introduces Bill to Set National PFC Drinking Water Standard

    Philadelphia Congressman, Brendan Boyle, on Thursday reintroduced a bill that will set a national drinking water standard for the now widespread perfluorinated compounds — a common drinking water contaminant that poses a grave public health risk, The Intelligencer has reported.

    Perfluorinated compounds include hundreds of chemicals, but PFOA and PFOS are the two of the best known as they have recently been detected in drinking water sources serving 15 million people across the United States.

    The Safe Drinking Water Act's Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) currently requires the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test drinking water across the country for up to 30 unregulated drinking water contaminants and no more, every five years.


    The PFCs, PFOS and PFOA, were included on the list of unregulated contaminants to be tested for in the third UCMR testing program conducted by the EPA, which resulted in their being discovered in many drinking water supplies between 2013-2015. As there is currently no drinking water standard set for these contaminants, the EPA has set a drinking water "health advisory limit" of 70ppt for these contaminants. But according to Boyle, this limit isn't enough.

    "Every day we continue to learn more about the scope and seriousness of perfluorinated compounds across the country. It's past time we address these contaminants with the seriousness they merit," Boyle said.

    Although brief, the bill introduced by Boyle, H.R. 3106, stipulates that the EPA introduce a drinking water standard for chemicals in the perfluorinated compound family, including PFOS and PFOA within two 2 years of the bill being passed.

    The bill, which is co-sponsored by congressmen Patrick Meehan of Upper Darby and Brian Fitzpatrick of Middletown, and by D-N.Y. Rep. Paul Tonko and D-N.J. Rep. Frank Pallone, forms part of a broader spectrum of bills put forward by Pallone in an effort to update and redefine the Safe Drinking Water Act to in fact make drinking water safer for consumers to drink.

    "All Americans deserve to have confidence in the safety of their drinking water, no matter what state they live in or what activities have taken place in their communities," Boyle added.

    Yet even though this is well overdue, it's highly unlikely that the bills will go unchallenged. Both Pallone and Boyle introduced similar bills in 2016, which ultimately were not passed. And while Boyle's current bill has gained some support from both within and outside his party, Pallone's bill H.R. 1068, is currently not as well supported.

    While politicians do their thing behind the scene, people across the country are still being exposed to unsafe levels of PFCs in their drinking water. But consumers can be proactive and take measures to remove contaminants such as these from their water by investing in a good quality drinking water filter, such as a filter from the Berkey range, that is capable of removing PFCs from the water they drink.

  • Non-stick Chemical Toxins Contaminate Drinking Water of 15 million Americans

    A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and scientists from the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University in Boston has revealed the presence of highly fluorinated chemical toxins, known as PFASs or PFCs, in drinking water serving 15 million people across 27 states, as well as from over 48 military and industrial sources across the country.

    The two research teams collaborated to develop an interactive map from a combination of drinking water data obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and readily available data on PFC contamination from industry, fire-fighting training sites, civilian airports and military air-force bases.


    "This is a one stop shop to track how pervasive the PFC contamination problem is in the U.S.," said Bill Walker, co-author of the report and managing editor of EWG. "For the first time we're reporting the full results of the EPA water testing, as well as known industrial spills and sites with military contamination, to provide a complete picture of where these PFCs are detected."

    The source of contamination was identified at forty-seven of the polluted sites, with twenty-one of these cases stemming from military bases, twenty from industrial plants and seven from civilian fire-fighting operations. Some sites had more than one source of contamination.

    After receiving a National Science Foundation grant to study the social impact of PFASs in 2014, the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute set about investigating the impact on water quality and public health, analyzing data collected by concerned civil and military communities, who had begun testing for these toxic chemical compounds.

    However, it is still very worrying that in many cases the source of these pollutants has not yet been identified, and at this stage it is also unclear how widespread the contamination may be. Currently, the EPA only tests drinking water for unregulated chemicals if the water supply serves over 10,000 consumers, and only tests for 30 chemicals over a three-year period. In communities such as Hoosick Falls, in the state of New York, where drinking water testing was commissioned by residents, PFCs have been found in drinking water. It is critical that the source of these toxic chemical pollutants that continue to contaminate drinking water is identified.

    "Americans should be outraged," said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG. "As we uncover the pervasive pollution of drinking water, the chemical companies have already shifted production to a similar set of chemicals that are likely no better. Federal agencies have known for decades that this entire family of chemicals is toxic and they haven't passed drinking water regulations. These chemicals do not break down in the environment and the amount of PFCs in your blood could be 100 times higher than the level of the chemical detected in your drinking water."

    Knowledge of the extent of PFC contamination within communities is expanding and is proving to be widespread. This raises a huge health concern, as exposure to PFCs is associated with cancer, weakened immunity function, thyroid disease and other health issues.

    Walker finds it remarkable that America, considered the wealthiest country in the world, cannot guarantee its citizens that the water flowing from their taps is 100% safe to drink and that it will have no long-term health risks.

    Over the last twenty-five years, the EPA hasn't added a single new drinking water pollutant to the Safe Drinking Water Act. This is due in part to the EPA being under-resourced, and in part due to pressure by the chemical industry who fights any new regulations. The only way limits will be set for these toxic chemicals in the near future is if they are implemented at state level.

    In an earlier study, the EWG reported that even at very low concentrations, PFOA — the chemical used in Teflon non-stick coatings — can harm animal fetuses, and posed a grave public health risk. Yet, the average levels found in each state are at least five times higher than levels considered to be safe, and in some cases as much as 175 times higher.

    Earlier this year, DuPont and its subsidiary company Chemours were forced to pay $671 million in lawsuit settlements to around 3,500 Ohio and West Virginia residents after their drinking water become contaminated by a carcinogenic chemical used in Teflon. Yet, while these plaintiffs have been awarded a settlement and this case is now closed, PFOA contamination is still widespread throughout the world.

    This new interactive map, which will continue to be updated as information on other areas that are contaminated becomes known, serves as the most comprehensive tool available for tracking PFC contamination in the United States.

    Environmental Working Group

  • Drinking Water Advisory Issued for Airway Heights Residents

    Airway Heights city officials issues an advisory warning residents not to use tap water for drinking or cooking as chemical contaminants originating from Fairchild Air Force Base have been found in the city's drinking water wells. However, according to a joint statement released by the Air Force and city officials, the water "is safe for activities where water will not be ingested, such as bathing, doing laundry and washing dishes," stressing that the advisory was issued "out of an abundance of caution."

    Residents have been supplied with packs of bottled water to meet their drinking and cooking requirements while the affected drinking water wells are flushed — which could take as long as ten days.

    Industrial chemical contaminants known as perfluorinated chemicals (or more commonly as PFOS or PFOA), which were identified as hazardous contaminants by the EPA las year, were initially found in several private wells on the eastern side of Fairchild. The chemicals are thought to have originated from firefighting foam used on the Air Force base from 1970 through to last year for fire training exercises, and at two aircraft crash sites.


    Fairchild city officials initially began testing groundwater samples collected from the base in February this year, and followed up by testing water samples outside the base at the beginning of April. They recently expanded their search for these contaminants to include areas further to the east and south of the Air Force Base, and found concerning levels of PFOS/PFOA contaminants in water from 17 or more wells. Out of four wells supplying Airway Heights' residents with drinking water, three were found to be contaminated.

    According to Airway Heights mayor, Kevin Ritchey, the city will cease pumping water from the contaminated wells and link up with the water system supplying the city of Spokane, which is typically utilized during summer to help meet the extra demand for water during this period. The city has begun flushing affected wells to reduce the concentrations of the PFOS/PFOA chemicals to safer levels, and while this should take affect within 3-4 days, test results to confirm this will only be available later.

    "The problem is the test results take about a week, so we're talking seven to 10 days to be completely sure" the contamination is reduced, Ritchey said.

    According to the EPA, most of us have low levels of PFOS chemicals in our bodies due to exposure to these chemicals in everyday consumer products. However, scientific research has shown that high concentrations of these chemicals are associated with adverse health issues in animals.

    "We care about the health and well-being of our families, neighbors and community partners, and we understand those impacted, or potentially impacted, by this emerging issue have legitimate concerns," Air Force Col. Ryan Samuelson said in the statement.

    Officials are currently assessing alternative options for the city's water supply and are also considering installing water filtration systems onto wells affected by contamination. If you are affected by this or other water quality issues, you can be proactive and take measures to ensure your water is free from contaminants and safe to drink by investing in a good quality drinking water filter like a Berkey that is capable of removing harmful chemicals and other hazardous contaminants.

  • Are Substitute PFOAs a Threat to Drinking Water Quality?

    With the widespread contamination of drinking water by the industrial chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorosulphuric acid (PFOS), the US Environmental Protection Agency recently updated their drinking water guidelines for these perfluorinated compounds, issuing a lifetime drinking water health advisory of 70 ppt for human exposure. These chemical compounds are widely used in industry and consumer products, and they persist in the environment, including waterways and aquifers that provide millions of US citizens with drinking water, potentially posing a human health risk.

    One would intuitively believe that regulating the use of harmful pollutants would ultimately have a positive effect on the quality of water. But this is not necessarily the case. Typically, the problem doesn't simply disappear when regulations are implemented, as companies often substitute harmful chemicals with others that have an equally hazardous impact on water quality.


    For example, in the US, the EPA has been working together with large companies such as DuPont in phasing out the use of the hazardous chemical PFOA (),  These are the carcinogenic industrial pollutants responsible for contaminating the drinking water supply of Hoosick Falls and other communities.  This ultimately led to the EPA issuing a health advisory earlier this year. However, according to the water news network, Water Online, DuPont and other companies that use PFOA are highly secretive about the substitute chemicals they are using instead of PFOA, and it is very likely that these replacements are just as hazardous as PFOA itself.

    In an interview on WNYT, Dr David Carpenter, an environmental scientist at the University of Albany, explained:

    "It's been PFOA and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) that's been discontinued, but not the related chemicals that have not been studied so much. The chemicals used to replace these substances present various uncertainties around drinking water quality."

    Carpenter then points out:

    "that the industry is very secretive about what they used to replace PFOA and it's hard to figure out exactly what they are. They're not saying what they replaced it with. It's almost certain that these are perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) with slightly different structures that have not been studied anywhere near the degree that these more common version of perfluorinated compounds have been,"

    According to the WNYT report, the EPA is currently assessing hundreds of alternative substitute PFOA chemicals, and according to an EPA official:

    "There are many reasons to expect a range of toxicities. But more research is needed, particularly on the environmental fate of these compounds to fully evaluate these compounds."

    Ultimately, one has to question whether substituting a known hazardous chemical compound with other chemical compounds (or hundreds of others as may be the case), about which very little if anything is known, offers any benefits in terms of reducing the risk to environmental and human health?

    Note: PFAS's fall under the category of PFC's - Perfluorinated Chemicals. PFOA, PFOS, etc.  The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce these contaminates.  Berkey water filter PFOA test results can be found here.

  • Industrial Chemicals found in American Alligators & African Crocodiles

    Two pioneering new studies examined perfluorinated alkyl acid (PFAA) concentrations in 'sentinel' reptiles, and could prove to be particularly useful for assessing the long-term impact of environmentally persistent chemicals.

    While alligators in American waterways and crocodiles in South African aquatic systems inhabit freshwater systems on separate continents, thousands of miles apart, two new studies conducted by scientists from Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, South Carolina, have found that both species have persistent industrial chemicals used for non-stick coatings at detectable levels in their blood.

    perfluorinated compounds berkey filter PFAA perfluorinated compounds berkey filter PFAA

    Some of the compounds included in this environmentally persistent group of chemicals — which have been associated with reduced fertility, liver toxicity, and a wide range of other health issues in both animals and humans — are no longer in use in the US and many other countries. Yet, blood samples taken from 125 American alligators at 12 different sites across South Carolina and Florida, showed that all had at least 6 out of 15 PFAAs being tracked for the study.

    The study, together with a similar study on South African crocodiles conducted by colleagues, is the first to examine PFAA levels in indicator reptile species, which are particularly useful for studying the affects of persistent chemicals that linger in the environment. PFAA compounds were historically used in common industrial and household products, including non-stick frying pans, fire-fighting foam, household and industrial waxes, stain repellents and water-resistant clothing.

    Implications for Drinking Water

    The blood levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in the alligators ranged between 1,360 - 452,000 ppt (parts per trillion). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a health advisory for PFOS and other PFAAs in drinking water early this year, recommending a drinking water standard of 70 ppt as the maximum combined exposure level for the two PFAAs in question. The researchers suggest that the high blood concentrations of PFOS found in alligators across several sites is concerning, and may imply that drinking water needs to be tested at those sites to limit human exposure to these hazardous chemicals.

    "Alligators and crocodiles play a dominant role in their ecosystems," said Jacqueline Bangma, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. "Similar to humans, they are long-lived top predators. They stay in a select territory--waterways where runoff from human activities accumulates-- and their PFAA burden increases through the consumption of fish."

    Contamination Hot Spots

    Both the US and South African study revealed "hot spots," where alligators and/or crocodiles had significantly higher levels of PFAA compared to animals at other locations. In the US, these tended to be on Florida's Merrit Island and on Kiaway Island situated in the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest of Charleston, SC. The high PFAA levels in these areas may be due to historical use of fire-fighting foams containing PFAAs, as high levels have been found in the environment around fire-training and manufacturing sites.

    Exposure to Other Environmental Contaminants

    By comparison, alligators in the Florida Everglades had the lowest concentrations of two of the most prevalent PFAAs found in all of the US alligators sampled. This came as a bit of a surprise to the researchers, as compared to other alligators in Florida, alligators in the Everglades have been found to have the highest concentrations of mercury.

    The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFOA, PFOS, PFAA contaminates).  Berkey water filter Perfluorinated Chemical test results can be found here.

    Journal Reference/s

    J.T. Bangma, J.A. Bowden, A.M. Brunell, I. Christie, B. Finnell, M.P. Guillette, M. Jones, R.H. Lowers, T.R. Rainwater, J.L. Reiner, P.M. Wilkinson and L.J. Guillette, Jr. Perfluorinated alkyl acids in plasma of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from Florida and South Carolina. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Accepted manuscript online: August 20, 2016. doi:10.1002/etc.3600

    I. Christie, J.L. Reiner, J.A. Bowden, H. Botha, T.M. Cantu, D. Govender, M.P. Guillettee, R.H. Lowers, W.J. Luus-Powell, D. Pienaar, W.J. Smit and L.J. Guillette Jr. Perfluorinated alkyl acids in the plasma of South African crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus). Chemosphere. Published: July 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.03.072.

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  • Drinking Water of 6 Million US Citizens Contaminated with Toxic Chemicals

    Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals widely used in industry have been found in drinking water supplies serving six million Americans.

    A recent study conducted by Harvard scientists, published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, has revealed that fluorinated compounds — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFASs) — industrial chemicals that pose a health risk, including an increased risk of cancer, occur at elevated levels in public drinking water systems across the country.

    "For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as PFASs, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences," said lead author Xindi Hu, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and Environmental Science and Engineering at SEAS. "In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population--about 100 million people."

    PFAS compounds have been widely used in both commercial and industrial products, including fire-fighting foam and everyday products such as clothing, food wrappers and pots and pans. Some of the health risks associated with PFASs include hormone disruption, obesity, high cholesterol and cancer. Yet while some manufacturers have opted to discontinue their use due to the safety risks they pose, these carcinogenic chemicals are still found in wildlife and people, with drinking water being a key source of exposure.


    For the study, the research team analyzed water quality data collected by the EPA between 2013 to 2015 for public water supplies across the country to determine the concentrations of PFASs — in total, over 36,000 water samples were assessed. They also examined industrial sites where PFASs are manufactured; sites where fire-fighting training is conducted or where fire extinguishing foam is routinely used, such as military training sites and airports; as well as wastewater treatment facilities where discharged water could potentially contaminate groundwater, as standard wastewater treatment methods are not able to remove PFASs during the treatment process. Wastewater sludge used on crops as fertilizer could also present another source of groundwater contamination by PFASs.

    The study revealed that in 194 of the 4,864 water supplies tested, PFAS toxins occurred at concentrations equal to or greater than the EPA's minimum reporting level requirements, with drinking water supplies from 13 states representing 75% of the observations, including drinking water from the following states (listed in order of frequency of occurence): California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

    According to the study, 66 of the public water supply systems examined, providing drinking water to six million Americans, contained at least one water sample that exhibited PFASs at levels equal to or higher than the EPA safety standard of 70 parts per trillion (ng/L) for two types of PFASs, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, with concentrations as high as 349 ng/L for the former being observed in Warminster, PA, and 1,800 ng/L for the latter being observed in Newark, DE.

    Watersheds situated close to wastewater treatment facilities, military bases, and industrial sites — all sites where these compounds are typically found — had the highest concentrations of PFASs.

    According to co-author, Elsie Sunderland, an associate professor at Harvard, these chemicals are 'potent immunotoxicants in children' with recent studies suggesting that their safety standards for drinking water should be at levels much lower than those currently set by the EPA.

    Health Implications of Exposure to PFASs

    In another Harvard study led by Philippe Grandjean, a co-author of this paper, the health implications of exposure to PFASs are discussed. The study, which was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that exposure to PFASs in early childhood can impair immune functioning and reduce the efficacy of vaccinating children against diseases such as tetanus and diphtheria.

    PFAS's fall under the category of PFC's - Perfluorinated Chemicals. PFOA, PFOS, etc.  The Black Berkey elements that come standard with our Berkey systems do reduce these contaminates, to an Extreme Degree (in parts per trillion). Berkey water filter PFOA test results can be found here.

    Journal References

    Xindi C. Hu, David Q. Andrews, Andrew B. Lindstrom, Thomas A. Bruton, Laurel A. Schaider, Philippe Grandjean, Rainer Lohmann, Courtney C. Carignan, Arlene Blum, Simona A. Balan, Christopher P. Higgins, and Elsie M. Sunderland. Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, online August 9, 2016, doi: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00260

    Philippe Grandjean, Carsten Heilmann, Pal Weihe, Flemming Nielsen, Ulla B. Mogensen, and Esben Budtz-Jørgensen. Serum Vaccine Antibody Concentrations in Adolescents Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds. Environmental Health Perspectives, online August 9, 2016, doi: 10.1289/EHP275

  • Testing For Perfluorochemicals in Municipal Water Starting 2013?

    Water utilities nationwide may have to test drinking water for 28 additional contaminants, including perfluorochemicals (PFCs), currently unregulated by federal law according to the Environmental Protection Agency plans. A complete list of contaminants is expected to be published next year and the tests are planned to start in 2013.

    PFC's - What Are They?

    On the EPA’s list there are six perfluorochemicals (PFCs). PFCs are used in the production of fluoropolymers - these are toxic industrial chemicals widely used by various industries for over 60 years to make products resistant to stains, oil, grease and water. They are commonly used in non-stick cookware, grease-resistant coatings (e.g. fast food wrappers or microwave popcorn bags) in stain-resistant textile coatings and some other industrial applications. Some of these products are made of chemicals breaking down into PFCs in the environment and inside human body.

    Perfluorochemicals can be also found in carpet and furniture treatments, sprays for leather, paints and cleaning products and in shampoos and floor waxes.

    Perfluorochemicals do not occur naturally in the environment – they are all man-made. Wastes from the PFCs production as well as from other processes in which these chemicals are involved have been placed in several disposal sites across the country.

    Perfluorochemical Contamination and the Environment

    PFCs are very longstanding in the environment. They can easily enter groundwater and move long distances. Some scientists suggest that PFCs can travel in air, lay down on soil and leach into groundwater.

    There has not been a comprehensive survey conducted on the scale of PFC pollution nationwide, but water agencies, scientists, and environmental organizations has recorded pollution of drinking and source water in PFCs in 11 states. It is still not clear if PFCs can be released from products when being used.

    The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have detected traces of PFCs in blood of almost all Americans over 12 years old. People get exposed to PFCs though food, water, products or from the environment. Environmental Working Group tests carried on new-born babies have confirmed the presence of perfluorochemicals in the serum, meaning they had been exposed to PFCs in the womb. Some PFCs can stay in a human body for several years.

    PFC Research Studies Point to Definitive Health Risks

    Currently, PFCs are a subject of intense research and very little is known on their impact on human health. Laboratory studies on animals indicate that PFCs in high concentrations can harm liver and other organs. Exposure to PFCs during pregnancy led to development problems in the offspring of mice. One of the PFCs - perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is linked to causes of human cancer.

    Since 1951, DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia has released PFOA into the air and the Ohio River. In 2001, local residents filled a lawsuit against DuPont declaring health problems occurred as a result of drinking contaminated water. The lawsuit was settled and the company agreed to fund a research project to investigate if PFOA exposure can cause measurable health changes.

    Researchers from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have found that the level of concentration of PFOA among local people exposed was much higher than the country average. Another finding was that children with high concentration of PFCs in blood reach puberty about 4 to 6 months later than their peers.

    As a result of a long campaign and pressure from environmental groups and health advocacy organizations, in 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency and six major PFOA makers agreed to eliminate the chemical from the production and use by 2015.

    This was a great success, but PFOA is still used in factories abroad, particularly in China, and products containing PFCs are still entering the U.S. market.

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