COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers have found rainwater is unsafe to drink everywhere, including some of the most remote places on Earth. This is due to the presence of “forever chemicals,” also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.
These chemicals are human-made and found in many products used today, such as paper plates, rain jackets, cleaning products, and even shampoos.
PFAS have been given the name “forever chemicals” because they can take thousands of years to break down. Today, forever chemicals are found across Earth including in our rainwater, snow, and even in our bloodstreams.
The CDC says “PFAS contamination has the potential to increase risk of cancer, affect childhood behavioral and learning problems, and can cause complications with infertility and immune systems.”
The EPA has issued new health advisories for two types of PFAS, which were both found in rainwater samples at levels exceeding health advisories.
A professor at Stockholm University and author of the study, Ian Cousins noted, “There is nowhere on Earth where the rain would be safe to drink, according to the measurements taken.”