For the last few years, we’ve watched headline after headline talk about PFAS invading our environments and water supplies. But now, we have some good news: as we expected, our water distillers remove PFAS from your drinking water.
What are PFAS?
The organic chemicals PFAS have been in the news a lot lately. They have sparked a wave of litigation in the U.S. chemical industry in numerous states against PFAS manufacturers. What are they and how concerned should we be about them in our drinking water?
For an in-depth dive, please check out our article: What You Need To Know About PFAS, including PFOS and PFOA
The first PFAS chemicals were manufactured or invented so to speak in the 1930’s. There are now around 4700 chemicals in the PFAS family! These organic chemicals have a couple of things in common: they are all manmade and they all contain linked chains of carbon and fluorine. (A big red flag should go up immediately.)
The bond between carbon and fluorine is very strong, so they don’t degrade easily. In other words, they stick around for a long, long time, not only in the environment, but also in the human body. They are very stable in water. That is why they are sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals”!
Where are PFAS?
Because PFAS can repel oil, water and grease, they are found in consumer products (like non-stick cookware) as well as commercial and military products (like firefighting foam).
The manufacturing of the most common PFAS like perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro-octane sulfonate (PFOS) were voluntarily phased out in the early 2000’s. Thank goodness! But PFAS are still in many of the everyday products we buy.
Because of the widespread use of these chemicals for decades, virtually all people have been exposed to them to some extent through the food we eat, the water we drink, and even through contaminated air we breathe. Scientific studies now estimate that 98% of Americans have detectable level of PFAS in their blood!
What do PFAS do to the human body?
So what damage can PFAS cause in the human body? The simple answer is A LOT.
Research shows that damages include: elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease, damage to and possibly cancer of the liver and kidneys, low fertility, low birth weights, testicular cancer, possibly several other suspected effects. Research suggests that exposure to PFAS may even suppress the immune systems of young children, potentially making vaccines less effective!
Scientists are less certain about the health effects of newer PFAS that have replaced PFOS and PFOA and effects of lower exposure. Despite the remaining uncertainty, scientists have found that PFAS affect “every major organ in the human body”, says Elsie Sunderland, a PFAS researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “So that is scary to me.”
Does Distillation Remove PFAS from Water?
Now for some good news! Based on scientific data, we had projected that distilling water containing PFAS would remove the PFAS, but we wanted proof of this certified by a reliable laboratory.
Samples of tap water from a hospital in New Jersey, containing PFAS, were gathered by a long-time Pure Water Distributor, Phil Festa, and sent to National Testing Laboratory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Chemists there identified that these water samples contained 7 different PFAS, varying from 3 to 26 ng/L (Nanograms per Liter). One nanogram per Liter is equivalent to 1 ppt (Parts per trillion). The standard for total PFAS in New Jersey is 13.0 ppt.
One of our commercial distillers (C-60) was used to distill the water samples with PFAS. The results of testing the distilled water produced showed that PFAS were…not detected. (That is virtually 100% removal!)
Boiling water containing PFAS will not release them. The boiling points of PFAS are extremely high compared to the boiling point of water (100 degrees Celsius, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level). This means that the PFAS will be left behind in the boiling tank of the water distiller.
Special shoutout to Phil Festa for his endeavors in getting this testing done. Thank You Phil!