As stated in the press release, the guideline values for PFAS in drinking water, surface waterways, and soils have drastically lowered over the past two decades due to new insights into their toxicity. So, the levels in environmental media are currently almost always over the recommended range. In relation to that, the study claims PFAS defines a new planetary boundary for novel entities that ha been exceeded.
“There has been an astounding decline in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water in the last 20 years. For example, the drinking water guideline value for one well-known substance in the PFAS class, namely the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has declined by 37.5 million times in the U.S.,” said Ian Cousins, the lead author of the study and professor at the Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University.
“Based on the latest U.S. guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink. Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink, and it supplies many of our drinking water sources,” Cousins continued.
A review from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the possible health risks of PFAS exposure may be underestimated, outlining them as cancer, liver damage, fertility problems, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.