PFAS Contamination in Biscayne Bay, Florida: A Cause for Concern
by Jenn Zappier on Nov 21, 2023
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as "forever chemicals," are a group of man-made chemicals that are resistant to degradation and can accumulate in the environment. These chemicals are found in a wide range of products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, failing septic systems, wash off airport runways, farm fields, and firefighting foam.
Sources of PFAS ContaminationPFAS can enter Biscayne Bay through a variety of sources, including:
- Sewage treatment plants: PFAS are not effectively removed by wastewater treatment processes and can be discharged into waterways.
- Stormwater runoff: PFAS from contaminated surfaces, such as roads and parking lots, can be washed into waterways during rain events.
- Atmospheric deposition: PFAS can be transported over long distances in the atmosphere and deposited onto land and water surfaces.
PFAS Risks to the Environment and Human HealthPFAS have been linked to a number of adverse health effects, including:
Current PFAS Regulations and Recommendations
There are currently no federal regulations for PFAS in drinking water. However, some states have set their own advisory levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering setting a national drinking water standard for PFAS.
People can reduce their exposure to PFAS by taking the following steps:
- Avoid products that contain PFAS: Look for products that are labeled as "PFAS-free."
- Filter your drinking water: A reverse osmosis filtration system can remove PFAS from drinking water.
- Eat less fish: PFAS can accumulate in fish, so it is important to limit your intake of fish, especially fish from contaminated waterways.
PFAS contamination is a serious environmental and public health concern. More research is needed to fully understand the health effects of PFAS exposure. In the meantime, people can take steps to reduce their exposure to these chemicals.