Here in the UK, we are lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of a mains water system that is considered to be safe and well-regulated. However, there is a growing concern that testing is not stringent enough for a group of man-made chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
These are sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’, because they will never break down in the environment. They are deliberately designed this way, in order to make water and oil resistant products, such as clothing, furniture, tech devices, and carpets. However, when they build up in the environment, they can end up entering the water supply.
There is a growing body of scientific and medical evidence to suggest that PFAS are potentially carcinogenic, and harmful to human health. Concern is growing worldwide about the issue, and countries including the US, Australia, and some EU nations have already introduced stricter testing and regulation. However, the UK has no routine testing in place.
According to the European Environment Agency, PFAS have been linked to developmental problems in unborn children, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, liver damage, and various cancers. They may also be a link to fertility problems, early menopause, and a reduced immune response to vaccines.
The Guardian reported last year that the EU is considering an outright ban on all non-essential uses of PFAS, and it has already revised its drinking water directive to a standard which must be met by 2023, reducing the acceptable level to 100ng/l for 20 types of PFAS and 500 ng/l for all PFAS substances.
So what can you do in the UK if you are concerned about the levels of PFAS in your tap water? One of the best solutions is to install an under sink reverse osmosis filtration system, which will remove most pollutants. Not only this, your water will taste better and look crystal clear.