Rainwater is no longer safe to drink anywhere on Earth because of ‘eternal chemicals’ linked to cancer, study suggests

A young girl carries a bucket of water from a line of full buckets

Eight-year-old Chelsea Simmons collects buckets of rainwater and carries them to her family’s garden in the drought-hit town of Marallandi, New South Wales, Australia, February 17, 2020.Lauren Elliott/Reuters

  • rainwater The entire planet contains levels of ‘chemicals forever“It’s not safe to drink, research suggests.

  • perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), cancer-related are pervasive in the home and environment.

  • Researchers say global PFAS levels are unsafe and substances need to be restricted.

According to a team of environmental scientists, rainwater is no longer safe to drink anywhere on the planet due to US pollution guidelines.

This is because rainwater on Earth currently contains toxic chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).and paper Published August 2 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Stockholm University researchers who have been studying PFAS for a decade have found evidence that these substances are pervasive throughout the atmosphere, leaving nowhere untouched.

There are thousands of all-man-made PFASs that are used in food packaging, water-repellent clothing, furniture, carpets, nonstick coatings on pots and pans, firefighting foams, electronics, and some shampoos and cosmetics. During manufacturing and daily use they can be released into the air. It also dissolves in seawater and is aerosolized in sea spray. From there, it diffuses through the atmosphere and returns to Earth as rain.

Two people crossing a busy street in the rain with umbrellas

Commuters with umbrellas cross the road during heavy rainfall from Cyclone Asani on May 10, 2022 in Kolkata, India.Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

They are often called “eternal chemicals” because they remain for long periods of time without breaking down, allowing them to accumulate in humans, animals, and the environment.

PFAS are Antarctica and arctic sea iceTheir prevalence across the planet is dangerous to human health. A peer-reviewed study linked them Some cancers can cause poor fertility, poor vaccine response, high cholesterol, and growth retardation in children.

favorite micro plasticIt is difficult to identify all long-term health effects of PFAS exposure. Because they contain so many different compounds, they are so prevalent in the environment. A new paper suggests that everyone on Earth is in danger.

Under EPA restrictions, “rainwater everywhere is determined to be unsafe to drink.”

A woman and a small child standing on the front steps of a house next to a blue and black rainwater tank

A woman and her granddaughter stand by a rainwater tank used for washing and cleaning in San Miguel Jicalco, a suburb of Mexico City, Mexico, March 4, 2016.Henry Romero/Reuters

Perhaps the most notorious of these substances are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). In June, based on new evidence of health effects, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly tightened its guidelines on the amount of PFOA and PFOS that can be safely present in drinking water.

Previously, the EPA set the permissible level for both substances at 70 ppt. New guidelines reduce this by a factor of up to 17,000, limiting safety levels to 0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.02 ppt for PFOS.

Researchers at Stockholm University assessed levels of PFOA, PFOS, and two other PFASs in rainwater and soil globally and compared them to regulatory limits. Levels of both substances in rainwater “often significantly exceed” EPA limits, the study authors conclude.

“Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater will not be considered safe to drink anywhere,” said Ian, lead author of the study and professor at the School of Environmental Sciences at Stockholm University. Cousins ​​said: press release.

“We don’t often drink rainwater in industry, but [directly]millions of people around the world rely on it to be safe to drink, and it supplies many of our drinking water sources,” Cousins ​​added.

The paper also found that soils around the world are “ubiquitously contaminated” with PFAS. PFAS are so long-lasting and circulate so effectively in the planet’s oceans, atmosphere and soil that researchers expect levels to continue to rise dangerously high.

Ultimately, researchers conclude that PFAS crossed the safe “global boundary” for human health.

“It is very important to limit the use and emissions of PFAS quickly,” they wrote.

Read the original article at business insider