WEST PALM BEACH, FL – There’s a danger lurking in the water we drink. It’s called PFAS, for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. For years, scientists and environmental advocates have been sounding the alarm about this class of substances, also known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily, that contaminate groundwater and end up in rivers and oceans. These harmful chemicals can also be found at concerning levels in bottled waters, according to a new investigation by Consumer Reports (CR), the mission-driven consumer research, testing, and advocacy organization.
Chronic exposure to these chemicals at high levels may lead to serious health effects, including decreased fertility, hormonal changes, increased cholesterol, weakened immune system response increased cancer risk, and growth and learning delays in infants and children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consumer Reports recently tested 47 bottled waters and detected PFAS in 43 of them. Carbonated waters were more likely to contain PFAS, with several—including Topo Chico, Bubly, and Polar—showing levels above the scientist-recommended 1 ppt limit.
While PFAS are present in a variety of products ranging from electronics to stain-resistant clothing, drinking water is a major source of concern for human exposure to these chemicals. Due to the evidence of potential harm, Consumer Reports believes there should be no measurable amounts of any PFAS in drinking water. Yet there are no federal limits.