Skip to content
Pure H2O

How to remove PFAO & PFAS from drinking water

PureH2O is the only UK manufacturer of drinking water purifiers. 316 stainless steel is used throughout its products in storage tanks and pipework because it’s the safest material to store and transport water. Not only that, it’s classed pharmaceutical in quality, above any food safety certification. Furthermore, it preserves the taste of purified water in its most natural state.

Pure Drinking Water (PWD) can be defined as potable water containing less than 20 parts per million Total Dissolved Solids (ppmTDS). Purity can also be defined by micrology. Whilst naturally pure water is slightly acidic or neutral, pH is not an indicator of purity although the more alkaline a water is, the more scale causing impurities it is likely to hold.

There is a lot of interest currently in PFAOs (perfluorooctanoic acid) and whether there is a negative impact on health. So what is it? A synthetic chemical compound, it is used to manufacture certain fluoropolymer and telomer-based products, including non-stick pan coatings like Teflon. Open your kitchen cupboard and you are almost certainly going to find a product made with PFAO or PTFE that is used in. It’s been in use since the 1940’s PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid C8HF15O2) & PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate C8HF17O3S) are found in common materials such as fabric conditioners and fire extinguisher.

The UK government is not testing drinking water for a group of toxic manmade chemicals linked to a range of diseases including cancers, while across the world people are falling sick and suing for hundreds of millions of dollars at a time after finding the substances in their tap water.

Separate studies have made connections between PFAS and miscarriage, reduced birth weight, endocrine disruption, reduced sperm quality, delayed puberty, early menopause and reduced immune response to tetanus vaccination. Scientists have also found that the substances can be passed from mother to baby via the placenta and breast milk. It can be removed from tap water using Reverse Osmosis products made in England by PureH2O ltd such as its PurityPRO range or RODI+ range.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it takes “the risks posed by PFAS chemicals very seriously, which is why we’re working at pace with regulators to better assess their presence in our natural environment and their sources.” It says it is “developing its approach to managing risk from PFAS” but it is not testing drinking water.

According to cancer.org, PFAO has the potential to adversely affect health because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood.

An examination of cancer incidence in Mid-Ohio Valley residents exposed to PFOA in drinking water due to chemical plant emissions was carried out by Vaughn Barry, Andrea Winquist, and Kyle Steenlan (2005-2011). They estimated the association between cancer and cumulative PFOA serum concentration. Estimated cumulative serum PFOA concentrations were positively associated with kidney and testicular cancer.

Exposure sources in the general population are not well established, but likely include diet, drinking water, food packaging, and household products (Lau et al. 2007). PFOA was reported to induce liver, testes, and pancreatic tumors in male rats over a 2-year period (Biegel et al. 2001). However, no evidence was found of hepatocellular, testicular, or pancreatic tumors in male monkeys exposed to PFOA for 26 weeks and observed for 90 days after exposure (Butenhoff et al. 2002). Exposure levels used in the animal studies were higher than human levels typically seen from drinking water or occupational exposure.

Because of PFOA’s potential for environmental persistence, long human half-life, and possible toxicity, there is rising concern about whether it might be associated with human cancers (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2005, 2006).
When the manufacturer says that their particular non-stick cookware is PFOA-free, it means that no use of PFOA has taken place in the production. While PTFE is stable and nontoxic at lower temperatures, it begins to deteriorate after cookware is heated to temperatures in excess of 260°C, decomposing above 350°C.

According to non-PFOA cookware resellers an increased exposure to PFOA and PTFE has been proven to potentially cause flu-like symptoms, kidney damage, liver damage, increased blood pressure, thyroid damage, and coronary artery disease.

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/teflon-and-perfluorooctanoic-acid-pfoa.html

Research published by the US Food & Drug Administration

Some PFAS are approved for use in the manufacture of non-stick cookware coatings. These coatings are made of molecules that are polymerized (i.e. joined together to form large molecules) and applied to the cookware through a heating process that tightly binds the polymer coating to the cookware. Studies show that this coating contains a negligible amount of PFAS capable of migrating to food. Similarly, the PFAS used in manufacturing of gaskets that come into contact with food do not pose a safety risk because they are also made of molecules that are polymerized.
The PFAS approved for use on paper or paperboard (to prevent grease from going through them) can potentially migrate to food. The FDA conducts a rigorous premarket safety review to ensure that the use of specific PFAS chemicals in food contact applications is safe. Due to questions on the potential human health risks from certain PFAS authorized for this use, those PFAS will be phased-out subject to the voluntary agreements. Please see Authorized Uses of PFAS in Food Contact Applications for more information.

Does washing or cooking remove PFAS from foods?

PFAS cannot be removed from foods by washing or cooking. The levels of PFAS that have been found in foods from the general food supply, however, are very low and based on the best available current science, the FDA has no indication that these present a human health concern. The founders of PureH2O Ltd recommend the use of stainless steel cooking utensils including pots and pans for cooking.

PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride C2H2F2)

This is also a manmade synthetic compound produced post WWII and widely used in the water industry especially in high purity and for that matter aggressive chemical applications where the material has to be inert and able to process high purity water without contaminating it. PVDF not only lends itself to producing exceptionally reliable conduit for ultra pure water but is formed into a surface that is so smooth it leaves no crevices in which bacteria can grow. When fabricating pipework runs the material is joined by a semi-molten process where the pipe is reformed using a balloon to eliminated joints – the welder forming a continuous pipe (bead and crevice free). For this reason it can be used to transport ultra-pure-water (UPW) such as the PurityPRO500 Commercial Boiling Water Taps in many micro-electronics fabrication plants where zero contamination in the water is essential to wash off the semi-conductors after the etching process.

Why is PVDF inert and the others not? Because in PVDF the cross link is delinked whereas in the others it is not. In the H2F2 bond of PVDF the reactive bond is broken in the others the HF bond still exists and as each component seeks a more attractive “host” everything comes apart. Hence PVDF is inert the others are active but this activeness is a long term effect taking years to evolve.

Polysulphide (Na2S5) is generally found in water treatment as a crosslink agent in elastomers such as neoprene or vulcanised rubber, gaskets, ‘O’ rings, etc due to its “memory” capability i.e. springs back to shape. Polysulfone material specifically PES ((Polyether Sulfone (C12H8O3S))n is what is usually used for membranes. The common bond in all of these is HF that actually acts as the cross link between the long chain carbon and oxygen links. The F portion is fluoride from the element fluorine the most reactive oxidiser presently known. From the above it can be seen where HF sits as the cross bond.

Summary

It can be readily seen what the difference is between the PFOA group of chemicals and membranes the presence of HF. Therefore, there should not be any concerns of membranes decaying to cause residual problems as all the elements of PES are essential to human wellbeing (in moderation of course).
PureH2O Ltd manufacture and supply a wide range of RO equipment. PurityPRO™ water purifiers eliminate 90% of polymers typically found in RO systems designed for residential use. With storage and filter housings made from 316 Stainless Steel these systems deliver the purest uncontaminated water and to preserve the awesome taste of water in its purest form i.e. PureH2O™.

Whatever contaminants exist in municipal water you can be sure that PureH2O™ is the most effective way of removing them to produce the safest drinking water possible.

OUR COMPANY

PureH2O Ltd manufactures, installs and maintains the world’s most innovative water purification systems and the most technologically advanced boiling, chilled and sparkling water taps. Since 1991 we have been committed to providing our domestic and commercial customers with the purest, safest, most sustainable choice of drinking water, which helps them reduce their environmental impact by avoiding single-use plastic bottled water.

+44 (0)1483 617000

© PUREH2O 2024. All Rights Reserved.
Unit 21 Boundary Business Centre Boundary Way, Woking, Surrey GU21 5DH. United Kingdom

Search