80 years ago, the first synthetic PFAS chemicals were released into the environment and they are still flowing in the underground water stream under our feet. According to a new scientific report from the University of Arizona, this chemical has a negative impact on health and they are increasingly absorbed into groundwater from the upper ground. Science is increasingly looking at the health effects of PFAS.
According to Bo Guo, the reported level of infection could be only “the surface of the iceberg”, as most chemicals remain in the soil. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, there are nearly 3,000 synthetic chemicals in the PFAS group. Since the 1940s, PFAS has been used to pack food, produce water-resistant fabrics, non-stick products, pizza boxes, paints, fire-fighting foams and more.
This chemical does not decompose in the environment or in the body. In the United States, many scientific reports show that water sources contaminated with PFAS chemicals are increasingly exposed to PFAS exposures that will soon have health consequences.
Base on the research, diseases related to this type of chemical include kidney disease, thyroid disease; They have the ability to affect the immune system and fertility.
“Because PFAS is found in many consumer and industrial products, they can easily get into wastewater. Sewage treatment plants are not designed to purify these compounds, so they will remain remain in the water and be reused. For example, it can be used to irrigate lawns or pump aquifers. “Professor Mark Brusseau said. “PFAS can penetrate into biological sludge, the type of sludge used as fertilizer. From this we see, this chemical can penetrate into the environment from many sources at different time intervals and continuously.”.
In order to understand how chemicals penetrate the shallow zone (the land separating the ground and groundwater), scientists at the University of Arizona have designed a model to simulate transportation and Storing chemicals in the soil.
This model shows that most of the PFAS chemicals are trapped in land with water and gas in contact. This makes the speed of chemicals penetrating down the water stream significantly slower. The scientists also found that the speed of chemicals moves much slower in coarse soils than fine-grained soil.
“This means that most of the PFAS chemicals are still being trapped in the soil, and they’re slowly sinking down like a ticking time bomb.”Guo said.
Previous observations have shown that before reaching groundwater, PFAS chemicals flow very slowly while still in the soil, but no one knows the cause of this phenomenon. The above model has shown the reason why the osmotic speed is so slow.
“This tells us where to focus on the water purification process.”Guo said. “For the time being, we keep our attention on the groundwater, but instead, should we focus on the soil? Anyway most of the PFAS is in the soil and will stay there for a very long time. Or do we insist on purifying groundwater for decades and centuries to come? “
The model works with any PFAS chemical, but scientists have used PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate) for testing. It is found in fire-fighting foam and is a major concern that needs to be addressed. “One of our goals in the future is to build similar models based on different locations.”, Brusseau said. “And we hope that the information it provides will be useful to policy makers, regulators and environmental consultants when they make their assessment plans.”.
The scientific report related to this issue has just been published in the journal Water Resources Research.
According to ScitechDaily