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  • Writer's pictureMarc Ziccardi

The Hidden Danger in Your Tap: Understanding the Need for PFAS Testing

PFAS Testing

The quality of the water we consume is of utmost importance for our health and well-being. Many households rely on tap water for drinking, cooking, and other daily activities. However, what most people don't realize is that there can be hidden dangers lurking in their tap water, such as PFAS.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are a group of toxic chemicals that can accumulate in the environment and in our bodies. One specific class of POPs that has gained significant attention in recent years is Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These human-made chemicals have been used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, water repellents, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams. Due to their persistent nature, PFAS have contaminated water sources across the country, including those in New Jersey.

Without proper testing, it is impossible to know if the tap water in your home or the property you are considering for purchase is contaminated with PFAS. This is where water quality testing becomes crucial.

1. Protect Your Health

The health risks associated with PFAS exposure cannot be ignored. Studies have linked these chemicals to numerous adverse health effects, including:

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • Reproductive and developmental issues

  • Impaired immune system

  • Liver damage

  • Thyroid disorders

Given the potential seriousness of these health concerns, it is imperative to prioritize water quality testing to ensure the safety of you and your family.

2. Complying with Regulatory Standards

As awareness of PFAS contamination grows, regulatory bodies are taking action to protect public health. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued health advisory levels for two specific PFAS compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). These advisory levels serve as non-binding guidelines for public water systems and provide a basis for remediation efforts.

By conducting PFAS testing, homeowners and realtors in New Jersey can ensure compliance with these regulatory standards. It also allows for informed decision-making when it comes to purchasing or selling a property.

3. Property Value and Peace of Mind

The presence of PFAS contamination can significantly impact property values. Buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential health risks associated with contaminated water sources and are likely to prioritize water quality when making purchasing decisions.

If you are a realtor, offering PFAS testing as part of the home inspection process can set your listings apart and provide reassurance to potential buyers. For homeowners, knowing that their property is free of PFAS contamination can provide peace of mind and preserve the value of their investment.

Overall, the importance of water quality testing, especially for PFAS, cannot be overstated. It is crucial for protecting your health, complying with regulatory standards, and maintaining the value of your property. Take the necessary steps to understand the hidden dangers in your tap water and ensure that it is safe for you and your loved ones.

PFAS Health Concerns

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) have become a growing concern due to their potential health effects. As mentioned earlier, studies have linked these chemicals to a range of adverse health outcomes. Let's explore some of the specific health concerns associated with PFAS exposure.

1. Increased Risk of Cancer

One of the most significant health risks associated with PFAS exposure is an increased risk of cancer. Several types of cancer have been linked to PFAS, including kidney, testicular, bladder, and prostate cancer.

Studies have shown that PFAS can accumulate in the body over time, leading to long-term exposure. This prolonged exposure to PFAS has been associated with higher cancer incidence rates in exposed populations.

2. Reproductive and Developmental Issues

Another concerning aspect of PFAS exposure is its potential impact on reproductive and developmental health. Studies have shown an association between PFAS exposure and reduced fertility, as well as adverse birth outcomes.

Research conducted on animals exposed to PFAS has also shown developmental delays and impacts on the immune system. While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of these effects on human health, the existing evidence raises concerns.

3. Impaired Immune System

PFAS chemicals have been found to suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases. This can have significant implications, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions.

Furthermore, a weakened immune system may diminish the effectiveness of vaccines, leaving individuals more vulnerable to diseases that could have otherwise been prevented through immunization.

4. Liver Damage

Prolonged exposure to PFAS has been linked to liver damage in both animals and humans. Studies have shown that PFAS can cause liver enlargement, increase liver enzymes, and disrupt normal liver function.

The liver is responsible for detoxifying substances in the body, which includes filtering out harmful chemicals and pollutants. When the liver is compromised, it can lead to a range of health issues and hinder the body's ability to remove toxins.

5. Thyroid Disorders

Persistent exposure to PFAS has also been associated with thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development. Disruption of thyroid function can lead to a multitude of health problems, including weight gain or loss, fatigue, and mood changes.

Research has shown that PFAS can interfere with thyroid hormone levels and disrupt the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. This can result in altered hormone production and subsequent health complications.

These are just some of the health concerns associated with PFAS exposure. It is essential to take these potential risks seriously and prioritize water quality testing to ensure the safety of your tap water.

Understanding PFAS Toxicity

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of human-made chemicals known for their persistence in the environment and potential toxicity. To understand the dangers of PFAS, it is essential to delve into their unique characteristics and how they behave in the environment and our bodies.

1. Persistence and Accumulation

PFAS are termed "persistent" due to their resistance to degradation in the environment. This means that once released into the air, water, or soil, PFAS can remain present for extended periods. As a result, PFAS can accumulate in various environmental compartments and biota over time.

When humans and animals are exposed to PFAS, these chemicals can accumulate in their bodies. PFAS are not easily excreted, resulting in their long-term presence and potential for toxicity.

2. Widespread Contamination

Due to their extensive use in industrial and consumer products, PFAS have become widespread contaminants in various environmental media. These chemicals can enter the environment through manufacturing processes, improper disposal, and the use of PFAS-containing products.

Once released, PFAS can contaminate water sources, including groundwater and surface water bodies. Drinking water supplies, in particular, can become sources of PFAS contamination.

3. Human Exposure Pathways

Humans can be exposed to PFAS through multiple pathways, including ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact.

The most common route of exposure is through the consumption of contaminated food and water. For example, if crops are irrigated with PFAS-contaminated water, they can take up these chemicals, leading to potential ingestion by humans. Similarly, if drinking water sources are contaminated with PFAS, individuals can be exposed through drinking and cooking.

Inhalation of PFAS-containing dust or air can also contribute to human exposure. This can occur near industrial facilities that use or produce PFAS or in indoor environments where PFAS-containing products, such as carpets or upholstery, release particles into the air.

Finally, dermal contact with PFAS-containing materials, such as clothing or personal care products, can result in absorption through the skin.

4. Toxicity and Health Effects

PFAS have been associated with a range of adverse health effects, as discussed earlier. The toxicity of PFAS varies depending on the specific chemicals and their concentrations.

Some PFAS have been shown to be toxic to the liver, kidneys, immune system, and reproductive system. Others have been linked to developmental delays in children and an increased risk of certain cancers.

It is important to note that the toxicity of PFAS is an area of active research, and new findings continue to emerge. However, the existing evidence suggests that exposure to PFAS can have significant health implications.

Understanding the toxicity of PFAS is crucial for informing regulations and remediation efforts aimed at minimizing exposure and protecting human health.

Need to have your water tested for PFAS? Agra has been testing water for homeowners and businesses for 25 years. Contact us today: 973-989-0010, or e-mail:

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