PFOA In Water

Per- and Polyfluorinated substances are a group of man-made chemicals that persist in the environment. These chemicals have been used for decades in consumer products to make them non-stick and water resistant. They are also found in firefighting foams and are applied in many industrial processes. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make them useful is also the reason they persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate, or build up, in our bodies and the bodies of wildlife.



Yes, they are dangerous. The health risks of exposure to the chemicals include developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants, cancer, liver effects, immune effects, thyroid effects, and more. The truth is, these are an emerging family of contaminants and researchers have not had enough time to discern the long-term effects of these contaminants.


Currently there are no enforceable federal drinking water limits for PFCs, however, that will likely change in the very near future. In May of 2016, the EPA released Lifetime Health Advisories of 0.070 microgram per liter (mg/L) (70 ng/L) for PFOA and PFOS (individually or combined) for exposure from drinking water. These advisory levels are set at concentrations which EPA is certain are protective for the most sensitive individuals against reproductive and developmental impacts with a margin of safety. The EPA has identified PFCs as an emerging contaminant because they have a pathway to enter the environment, may pose a human health or environmental risk, and do not have federal regulatory standards. In addition, individual states have begun to develop state PFC guidelines for monitoring and reducing PFCs in the environment.


Certain technologies have been found to remove PFAS from drinking water, especially Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which are the most studied of these chemicals. Those technologies include activated carbon adsorption and reverse osmosis membranes. At US Water Systems we always look at water problems and ask ourselves: If this were the water my family and I had, what would we do?

The fact of the matter is that we would want Reverse Osmosis to handle the PFOA or PFOS in our water, but pre-treatment is vitally important. Most of these PFOA and PFOS problems are on well water, which may have other problems, such as iron, manganese, sulfur, hardness, nitrate, low pH, and other issues. It™s important to have a Good Water Analysis such as THIS.

If you are not sure what system is right for you, one of our Certified Water Specialists or Master Water Specialists can help you decide which system is right for you. Call us at 800-608-8792 and we will be glad to help you.