Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Tap Water May Contain Chemicals

Per John Flesher in an article published in Time, “Drinking Water From Nearly Half of U.S. Faucets Likely Contains ‘Forever Chemicals’ Study Warns”

“Drinking water from nearly half of U.S. faucets likely contains “forever chemicals” that may cause cancer and other health problems, according to a government study. The synthetic compounds known collectively as PFAS are contaminating drinking water to varying extents in large cities and small towns — and in private wells and public systems, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The USGS report was based on samples from taps in 716 locations, including 447 that rely on public supplies and 269 using private wells. The samples were taken between 2016 and 2021 in a range of locations — mostly residences but also a few schools and offices. They included protected lands such as national parks; residential and rural areas with no identified PFAS sources; and urban centers with industry or waste sites known to generate PFAS. Based on the data, researchers estimated that at least one form of PFAS could be found in about 45% of tap water samples nationwide..

PFAS(per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) are synthetic chemicals that are hazardous to human health. They can be found in tons of everyday items we are exposed to… linings of fast-food boxes and wraps, used as grease-proofing agent in microwave popcorn bags, non-stick cookware, used to make clothes and carpet stain-resistant,etc. Exposure has been assocaiated with obesity, cancer, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, liver damage, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

So, what can you do? Get educated about your tap water. Look into the water quality report called the Consumer Confidence Report(CCR) if you get municipal water. Those on well water do not get a CCR so would have to get water tested. Consider installing a water filter that is certified to lower the levels of PFAS in your water.