Comment filtrer les PFAS dans l'eau potable ? - ÖKO EUROPE

How to filter PFAS from drinking water?

What are PFASs


PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances)are a large family of man-made chemicals, known for their use in many common industrial and consumer products.

FPAS have extremely strong carbon-fluorine bonds, making them resistant to heat, water and oil. This property makes them useful in many applications, but also difficult to degrade in the environment.

Thus, they are found in products such as non-stick coatings (like those on pans or cookware), textiles, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some food packaging, fire-extinguishing foams, and in some cosmetics.

Environmental and health concerns

FPAS are persistent, meaning they do not degrade easily in the environment. They can accumulate in the human body and have been linked to a variety of health problems, such as effects on the immune system, cancer risks, and reproductive and developmental problems.

Presence in drinking water

FPAS can leach into drinking water sources, mainly from industrial runoff, landfills, and fire-fighting foams used at airports and military exercises. Their presence in drinking water has become a major concern for public health.

2 sources to quickly understand the extent of the damage:

<1 - The Le Monde article below presents a map, the result of a collaborative survey, showing for the first time the extent of Europe's contamination by PFAS, persistent and toxic pollutants. The map shows 20 PFAS-producing plants, over 17,000 detected contaminated sites, 232 industrial users of PFAS, and around 21,500 suspected contaminated sites, including military bases and industries. More than 2,100 "hot spots" with concentrations hazardous to health have been identified. These data underline the importance of managing PFAS pollution in Europe.

2- Most of our exposure to PFASs, especially PFOA and PFOS, comes from water and food. French regulations, in line with the European Directive, set thresholds for PFAS in drinking water that will be applied from 2026 onwards (500 ng/L for all PFAS and 100 ng/L for 20 specific PFAS). However, these thresholds are deemed insufficient, as they are not based on the latest scientific knowledge. Other countries, such as Denmark and the USA, have set much stricter standards (Denmark has chosen to apply a 2 ng/L standard for the sum of 4 PFAS). In France, the Anses has set a maximum value of 75 ng/L for PFOA, below the European standard (in the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) has proposed a standard for PFOA of 4 ng/L).

What are the impacts of PFAS on health?

FPAS, due to their persistent and bioaccumulative nature, can have several impacts on human health. Here are some of the potential effects linked to PFAS exposure:

- Cancer risk: Some forms of PFAS, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), have been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including testicular and kidney cancer.

- Effects on the immune system : Studies have suggested that exposure to PFAS can weaken the immune system, reducing the effectiveness of vaccines and increasing susceptibility to certain infections.

- Other effects: Reproductive problems, child development difficulties, increased cholesterol levels, thyroid problems or other hormonal imbalances, adverse effects on the liver, weight problems.

As a source, you can read the article dated 01/12/2023: "PFAS: WHO raises the level of carcinogenicity of two substances"

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently attested to the potential danger to humans of two substances in the PFAS family: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). In an opinion published on November 30 in The Lancet Oncology, PFOA was classified as "carcinogenic to humans" and PFOS as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

The following article, also quoted below, is instructive:

What are the recent hot issues on PFAS?

silence sur les dangers des pfas

The November 15, 2023 Le Monde article below discusses the scandal of PFAS contamination of water in Belgium. Céline Tellier, Wallonia's Minister for the Environment, was asked about the exposure of around 20,000 Walloon residents to water contaminated by these toxic and persistent chemicals. Despite early warnings, including by the US military in 2018, residents have been left in the dark. The Minister has been criticized for a lack of vigilance and reaction to this threat.

On October 18, 2023, an internal and confidential email from the Director General of ARS Occitanie was published, revealing a high presence of PFAS in the region's drinking water and strongly advising not to consume tap water, but to use it only for everything else, and to favor bottled water.

The Le Progrès article below from December 15, 2023 reports that the Lyon Metropolitan Prefecture is maintaining its recommendation not to consume eggs from local hen houses due to PFAS pollution, mainly from the Arkema plant in Pierre-Bénite. Analyses revealed higher-than-normal levels of PFAS in local soil, fruit, vegetables, rainwater and well water. A health risk assessment is currently underway, with results expected in the second half of 2024.

The article below describes the measures taken in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, in response to PFAS contamination in the Iles aquifer. Advance checks revealed above-standard contamination in three wells. One borehole was shut down in 2022, and measures have been taken to ensure the quality of the water distributed. Studies are underway to understand the aquifer and identify sources of pollution, with a particular focus on three local industrial sites.

Some quotes from the article below:

"Massive PFAS pollution, these toxic, eternal substances are present everywhere"

"PFAS, the poison of the century, are spread everywhere, and Alsace is not spared. "

What are the actions?

Inaction sur la filtration des PFAS dans l'eau potable

Monitoring the presence of PFAS in tap water is currently outside the scope of analyses by the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS), since these compounds are not yet regulated.

However, by 2026, regulations will change following the revision of European Directive 2020/2184 on drinking water quality, to include PFAS.

This directive, transposed into French law in December 2022, targets 20 PFAS with a quality limit set at 0.10 µg/L.

FPAS will be included in drinking water health analyses from 2026, or from January 1ᵉʳ 2023 for sites in which their presence has already been detected.

On this subject, the generations futures article quoted in the introduction is also interesting. As a reminder, it indicates that Denmark has chosen to apply a standard of 2 ng/L or 0.002 µg/L for the sum of 4 PFAS or that in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a standard for PFOA classified as carcinogenic at 4 ng/L or 0.004 µg/L.

Does the ÖKO EUROPE filter flask retain PFAS?

A study carried out by the Eurofins Euraceta laboratory at our request in December 2023 led to the results visible in the graph below.

You can find the official study document on our page listing, in particular, all the laboratory tests:

The study revealed that there was no longer any trace of PFAS visible after filtration via our ÖKO EUROPE filter flask.

Leave nothing to chance and equip yourself to protect your health and that of your family.

At any rate, that's what we recommend.