In recent years, the presence of water contaminants such as perfluorooctane sulfonate, also known as PFOS, has increased. Commonly found in many stain barrier products, PFOS has been proven to be harmful to human health, even from short-term exposure. Whether you're on well water or the city water supply, you need to understand the dangers of PFOS, how you test for it, and the PFOS treatment you can use to minimize it in your home's water.
How Harmful Is PFOS?
Exposure to PFOS can lead to serious health complications both for adults and children. In fact, exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to developmental defects in infants. Babies and young children are more sensitive to the effects of PFOS exposure, but anyone exposed can risk problems such as cancer, immune system damage, thyroid issues and liver problems. The effects of exposure can be not only long-term, but potentially lifelong.
Can You Test For PFOS?
You may now be wondering how you find out if your water is contaminated with damaging levels of PFOS. The good news is that the information is accessible. In fact, if you're on a city water supply, all you have to do is call your city's water department and ask them about the most recent tested levels of PFOS in the water. They have to monitor the water for many contaminants and hazards, so it's tested regularly.
If you're on well water, though, you'll have to have the water tested yourself. You can call a local water testing company to do it for you, or you can collect the samples yourself and send them out to be tested. Most mail-out testing takes a couple of weeks to get the results back, but you'll get them either by mail or email in most cases.
How Do You Reduce PFOS?
If your home's water test shows the presence of PFOS, the best thing you can do is to invest in a water filtration system. However, you need to be sure you get the right kind. Many of the lesser-grade filtration systems, while great for minerals and the like, won't filter out chemicals like this.
Granular activated carbon filters have proven successful at reducing the levels in water. For more certainty, look at reverse osmosis filters or even nanofiltration. Install the filter on the incoming water line so that all of the water coming into your house is filtered before it reaches your family. Make sure you keep up with any filter maintenance that's required and test your water periodically to ensure that it's performing at its best.