PFOA, PFAS Talk In Hudson Valley Area Heats Up

Among growing concern about PFOA water contamination in the region, lawmakers and residents have not only taken notice, but are actively taking steps to ensure the levels of PFOA and PFAS are brought down to safe levels — which should be nearly nothing at all.

In Hoosick Falls, a state-ordered study on the future source of its drinking water was explored after discovering its supply was contaminated with PFOA and PFAS. Alternatives include developing new groundwater and surface water sources, connecting with another water supply, or keeping the existing supply and removing the contaminants with filtration.

Good Intentions Gone Bad

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until 2002, PFOA and PFAS were integral in producing goods which qualities repel dirt, grease, water and stains. These contaminants can be found in the manufacturing process of a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, carpet-care liquids, treated apparel, upholstery or textiles, sealants, dental floss, floor wax and non-woven medical garments. Though PFTE non-stick cookware was proven to have PFOA levels, a recent study found levels that ranged from undetectable to 4.3 parts per billion, and it is not currently considered a major pathway for PFOA and PFAS.

The two biggest issues with these substances is that they don’t break down in the environment, and are fairly ubiquitous, known to be located in food, drinking water, outdoor and indoor air, dust and food packaging. Because of their strong molecular structure, PFOAs are more difficult to break down than organic chemicals.

According to a study from 2002-2005, “people who lived in the PFOA-contaminated area around DuPont’s Washington Works facility were found to have higher levels of PFOA in their blood from drinking water. People that drank more tap water, ate locally grown fruits and vegetables, or ate local meat, were all associated with having higher PFOA levels. Residents who used carbon filter systems had lower PFOA levels.” Studies have found that using carbon-activated filters can reduce PFOA’s by up to 60%.

Recommendations by the EPA

The EPA has issued a “Health Advisory” for PFOA, but this does not amount to any actual forced federal regulations on municipalities to control and monitor them. The EPA has established health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion. What does this mean? To compare 70 parts per trillion, think of a drop of ink in a backyard pool. According to its website, “EPA’s health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS offers a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.” 

A few of the adverse health conditions a lifetime of exposure can lead to are developmental effects in children, kidney and testicular cancer and immunodeficiency disorders.

For more information, check out the supporting documentation here.

Where Culligan Can Help

Call Culligan of Hudson Valley today to get a FREE water test and find out of your tap water contains PFOA-type contaminants.

We offer two testing options at Culligan. Our basic water testing is free. When the testing is complete and the results have been determined, we will contact you with our customized recommendations for eliminating any contamination that may be in your home’s water supply.

Immediately test the water in your home if you experience any of the following:

  • Water tastes “off”
  • Water is not clear
  • Water has an unpleasant odor
  • Water bills increase unexpectedly