Step 1

HAVE YOUR WATER TESTED FOR PFAS

Where can I get my water tested locally?

EUROFINS QC is a local lab that tests residential drinking water for PFAS (14 of them – all the ones detected locally) including PFOA/PFOS

You must go pick up special bottles to collect the samples. The cost of the test is $450.  However, because they are unregulated chemicals, it has been suggested that you may want them to conduct an additional "blank" water sample.  If the first one gets a positive hit for the chemicals, they would run the second one to double check it.  Naturally, you can just do one sample.....because they will charge another $450 if you submit two and both are used!

EUROFINS QC in Horsham.  215-355-3900. (Press 3 for environmental then press 1 for residential to get to someone who can help)

What home water filtration systems will remove PFAS chemicals?

Currently, both granulated carbon (GAC) and reverse osmosis filters have been shown to reduce PFAS chemicals in drinking water. 

There is now a PFAS removal certification for water filters so ask if the brand you are considering has one and what level PFAS can be reduced to.  Additionally, cost is always a factor and prices vary depending on the system you choose.  There are point of entry systems (whole house systems), point of use systems (e.g., kitchen sink) and countertop pitcher systems etc.  Prices vary ($100 to $3,000) and so does the maintenance cost to replace the filters.  Ask about the cost of installation and the cost for replacement filters.

The Environmental Working Group is one of the most trusted sources to answer questions on this complicated topic and uses your zip code to guide you on the best systems for you depending on what you are exposed to locally:   https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/water-filter-guide.php


Step 2

GET YOUR RESULTS

Water test results can be confusing, especially when different units (ppt, ppb, ug/L) are used. The most important take away is getting your results and comparing them to the current EPA Health Advisory Limit (HAL) for combined PFAS (70 ppt). Which, we fell is still WAY TOO high. Science clearly points to PFAS being harmful in doses well below the EPA HAL.

Over the next few weeks we will be posting a sample water test result explaining in detail how to do the unit conversions and what it all means.

Contact the EPA Regional Director, Region 3 (Community Heath Investigations) for help interpreting your results:

Lora Werner, MPH

Office: 215.814.3141

email: lkw9@cdc.gov


Step 3

CHOOSE A WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM THAT BEST MATCHES YOUR RESULTS

Types of Filtration Systems

Both granular activated carbon (GAC) and reverse osmosis (RO) filters can reduce PFAS substances. Both systems provide less water flow than a standard water faucet.

A GAC system:

  • reduces the amounts of PFAS and some other contaminants in drinking water.

  • has a carbon filtration cartridge which captures the contaminants.

  • provides more water flow than an RO system.

  • has cartridges that are rated to treat more gallons of water than those in an RO system and are less expensive to replace.

  • are often easier to install than RO systems.

  • does not remove minerals from water.

An RO system:

  • reduces the levels of more contaminants in water, including arsenic and nitrates, than a GAC system.

  • typically consists of a sediment filter, carbon filters, and an RO system membrane. RO systems force water through the membrane under pressure, leaving the contaminants at the membrane.

  • provides less water flow than a GAC system.

  • uses approximately three times as much water as it treats, and discharges the untreated water to the sewer or septic system.

  • removes minerals from water. Some systems include re-mineralizers.

  • requires more frequent changes of the filtration cartridge and the RO membrane.

  • is more costly.

Maintenance

For any filtration system to be effective, it must be maintained. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and change the cartridges as often as recommended. Most systems include an indicator to notify you when the cartridges or the RO membrane should be replaced.

Cartridge Disposal

The cartridges may be disposed of in household trash. They are not considered hazardous waste.