Instead of a warning, today’s post is more about spreading awareness of a potentially serious topic. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) launched a first-of-its-kind study. In a nutshell, the goal of this multi-state study is to take a look at what the CDC describes as “forever chemicals” in our drinking water. This goes far beyond our warnings to never drink the pool water.
Read on to learn more about this fascinating, and hopefully informative, new CDC initiative.
What is This Drinking Water Study?
As mentioned, the plan of this study is to investigate the health effects of certain substances in our drinking water. Seven states will be included, and the agencies are looking for water that is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
PFAS are being referred to more casually as “forever chemicals” because, well, they will remain in the water forever. They won’t eventually dissipate; they’re around forever. The same goes for the drinking water and for our bodies. Over time, PFAS will accumulate inside us.
What are PFAS?
PFAS can come from any number of sources, but one major source comes from home products, like non-stick cookware. You see, PFAS tend to be used in situations where a product needs to have a high resistance to heat and liquid. For this reason, they are frequently discovered in cookware and on water-repellent clothes and footwear. They are often found in grease-resistant food packaging as well, including microwavable popcorn bags and pizza boxes. Additionally, PFAS are often found in makeup and other cosmetic products. Unfortunately, when these products are used, cleaned or disposed of, these “forever chemicals” can end up in our drinking water.
Knowing the Risks
Now the question is: what health concerns does this pose for our drinking water?
To answer this, the study aims to recruit roughly 6,000 adults over the age of 18, and at least 2,000 children, from across the nation. These individuals will have been exposed to and ingested the “forever chemicals” over time. With luck, the CDC and the ADTSR will be able to discover the risks of short-term and long-term exposure.
Now, obviously none of this is conclusive until the study is completed and the results are analyzed, but the CDC is worried that the chemicals can have a number of detrimental affects of our health.
Here are a few possible ailments the study is concerned about:
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Affected immune system
- Interference with natural hormone levels
- Possible increased risk of cancer
- Finally, and this is most important to our readers, PFAS may affect the growth and cognitive abilities of infants and children
Hopefully the data collected will help us to better understand exactly how our health is being affected. In addition, it can even possibly set new safety limits when it comes to PFAS contamination in drinking water.
In California alone, it is believed that one-in-five residents have potentially been in contact with these chemicals. Exposure rates can potentially be even more serious outside of that state. As you can see, the CDC has reason to be so concerned.
Sometimes water safety goes far beyond swimming lessons and removable pool fence. Similar to when we told you about the crypto parasite, this story offers a serious need for parents to become informed. To learn more about the CDC’s study and their results, check out this official link.