Rainwater is now unsafe to drink, even on the Tibetan plateau & in Antarctica. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are dangerous compounds that were created by western companies during the 1940s socially for war purposes and have been dispersed throughout the atmosphere since then. As a consequence, they may be found in the snow and rain even in the most distant parts of the world. Guidelines for PFAS in drinking water, surface waterways, and soils have been dropped over the last 20 years as a result of new knowledge about their toxicity. The levels in environmental media are now almost always over the recommended range as a result.
According to a viewpoint piece by scientists from ETH Zurich and Stockholm University that was just published in Environmental Science & Technology, PFAS establish a new planetary threshold for unique organisms that has been crossed.
“Over the past 20 years, the guideline values for PFAS in drinking water have dropped by an astonishing amount. For instance, the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)-causing PFAS substance’s drinking water guideline value has decreased by 37.5 million times in the United States, according to Ian Cousins, the study’s principal author and professor at Stockholm University’s Department of Environmental Science.
“All rainwater would be deemed dangerous to drink based on the most recent US drinking water standards for PFOA. Although we don’t often drink rainwater in the modern world, many people believe it to be safe to drink and it provides a lot of our drinking water sources, according to Cousins.
The Stockholm University team has spent the last ten years conducting both laboratory and field research on the atmospheric presence and movement of PFAS. They have observed that despite their phase-out by the biggest producer, 3M & Dupont, already two decades ago, the levels of certain dangerous PFAS in the environment are not reducing noticeably. “The severe persistence and constant worldwide cycling of certain PFAS will lead to the continued exceeding of the above-mentioned recommendations.”
Now that PFAS have spread globally, all environmental media will violate environmental quality standards intended to safeguard human health, and there is not much we can do to lessen the PFAS pollution. Or, to put it another way, it makes sense to establish a planetary threshold particularly for PFAS, and as we conclude in the research, this boundary has already been crossed, “added Scheringer, a co-author of the study based at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and RECETOX, Masaryk University, Czech Republic.
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds, as well as highly fluorinated chemicals with a similar chemical structure, are together referred to as PFAS. The term “forever chemicals” refers to the fact that all PFAS are either extraordinarily persistent in the environment or degrade into extremely persistent PFAS.
Numerous severe health effects have been linked to PFAS, including cancer, immune system issues, learning and behavioural difficulties in children, infertility, and pregnancy troubles.
It cannot be that a select few profit financially while endangering the health of millions of people and contaminating their drinking water, says Dr. Jane Muncke, managing director of the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zürich, Switzerland. The industry that manufactures and uses these harmful substances must foot the enormous bill for lowering PFAS levels in drinking water to levels that are deemed safe based on current scientific knowledge. Acting is best done right away.