PFAS and PFOS
Should you be concerned about "forever" chemicals?
PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. These chemicals, slow to break down, can be found in water, soil, and throughout the home. Recent research into the harmful effects of these chemicals have homeowners concerned.
Am I at risk?
It's important to note that Mountain Valley Inspections is not the leading authority on PFAS and PFOS. Information provided here is for reference purposes only. For emerging information regarding your health and environmental regulations, please consult with the EPA or Health Department. The information provided here comes from the EPA and consultation with water testing professionals.
Although PFAS has been used in products for the last eighty years, the associated risks of these chemicals are now coming to light. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) are two of the most widely used and studied chemicals in the PFAS group. These two chemicals have been replaced by other PFAS in the last few years (EPA.gov). One common characteristic of concern of PFAS is that many break down very slowly and can build up in people, animals, and the environment over time.
PFAS can be found in many places and products. Common contaminants include household dust, food wrappers, cosmetics, cleaners, air fresheners, soaps and detergents, food (livestock exposed to PFAS), and more. Traces of these chemicals have been found in private and public drinking water. The health effects of exposure to these chemicals are still being researched but may be linked to reproductive health, hormonal imbalances, increase risk of obesity, increase risks of cancers, and developmental delays in children.
When living next to a manufacturing site or landfill site, you may be at risk for increased risk to concentrated levels of PFAS in soil and drinking water. Some of these locations are being investigated and may come under observation by federal or state agencies if declared a Superfund site. In the Hudson Valley, many towns have closed landfill sites, often now home to municipal transfer stations. If you live near one of these sites or near a manufacturing facility, you may be wondering if you should test your drinking water for PFAS.
The water testing procedure for PFAS is very new, with the EPA just establishing the procedure for testing in 2021. Testing for PFAS is an expensive procedure and requires very meticulous testing procedures to not cross-contaminate the sample with PFAS in the home.
How we test for PFAS
Mountain Valley Inspections can assist you in testing for PFAS. Before you test, you may want to consider if it is worth your investment. Starting price for these tests is $1000.00+. The procedure is different from our other water testing services.
We will use field control in addition to the water vials to ensure quality assurance. This test is taken using a clean procedure. To take these samples, we take proper precautions not to use perfume/cologne before taking the sample. We also dress in Tyvek suits to ensure laundry detergent or dryer sheet residue from our clothes taint the sample. The field controls are used to take measurements of PFAS contaminants from the air of the home. This helps the lab to cross-reference with the water sample. Failure to take control can mean you have false positives or excessively high numbers of PFAS in your drinking water.
Although some labs offer home testing kits for a few hundred dollars, these tests do not include a control. We will not provide this service without field control as we believe the integrity of the test is compromised.