The “forever” chemicals in your water

Whether you’ve already tested your water or just want to know more about nanoscale pollutants now prevalent in our drinking water, here are some key notes on PFAS.

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances known as PFASs are highly toxic chemical compounds known for their use in firefighting foam and household products like Teflon and Scotchgard. Deemed “forever” because they can remain in soil and water for decades.


Perfluorooctanoic acid is used in the process of making non-stick and packaging products.


Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid has been the key ingredient in Scotchgard and several firefighting foams.

GenX – C6

Another perfluorinated chemical introduced as a replacement for PFOA has been shown to cause many of the same health problems as PFOA.

Where: “Everywhere”

Monitoring data indicates that the drinking water of up to 110 million Americas is likely impacted by PFAS chemicals.

Solutions Needed. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study of pre- and post-treated water samples collected from 25 drinking water plants found a combination of 14 PFAS in all 50 water samples tested, evidencing negligible removal of the chemicals in the treatment process.

Toxicity …Extreme. California’s Office of Health Hazard and Assessment (OEHHA) has advised that drinking water concentrations for PFOA and PFOS should be below 1ppt to reduce cancer risks below one in one million. As a result, the State recently lowered its public notification levels to 6.5 parts per trillion for PFOS and 5.1 parts per trillion for PFOA. For reference, that is one drop in three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Health Risks

The CDC notes the presence of PFAS chemicals in our drinking water is a “seminal public health challenge” that we will face for decades. Studies in humans have shown PFAS may:

  • Adversely affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children
  • Lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
  • Interfere with the body’s natural hormones
  • Increase cholesterol levels
  • Affect the immune system
  • Increase the risks for some cancers

Adult tolerances of PFAS chemicals are roughly 4 times that of infants and children. Thus, a PFOS limit of 52ppt for an adult would be 14ppt for a child.

Cyclopure’s Water Test Kit measures PFAS concentrations to parts per trillion (ppt) concentration levels for the presence of PFOA, PFOS and 13 other PFAS chemicals.

Thirsty for more?

A simple Google search on any of the above will provide you with a lots of helpful information. We recommend a few trustworthy sources including:

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – California Water Boards

‘Forever Chemicals’: Teflon, Scotchgard and the PFAS Contamination Crisis – EWG

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling – The New York Times


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