Rainwater is not safe for human consumption, researchers claim.
The investigation was conducted by BBC earlier this year, and the results were disturbing, to say the least. Namely, when looking at the water samples collected in England and Wales, researchers found Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) levels that “greatly exceed” safety parameters.
PFAS are widely known as “forever chemicals” as they are notorious for their chemical stability, which can last for thousands of years. In other words, once they contaminate the environment, they won’t degrade naturally but will linger on.
Worst yet, they are potential bio-hazards for all living organisms, no matter the size. This also affects edible plants like watercresses, as well as animals that have consumed rainwater-fed plants. Hence, eating them is potentially dangerous for humans due to the so-called bio-accumulation of chemicals inside their bodies.
In short, when PFAS build up in human and animal tissues, they can become cancerogenic. Moreover, they can lead to hormonal imbalances, infertility, and developmental defects.
But how did the problem arise in the first place?
Well, as you might’ve guessed, the chemicals in question are all human-made. Today, there are about 4,500 PFAS used regularly across multiple industries. You can find forever chemicals in paints, cosmetics, agriculture, food packaging, nonstick pots and pans, and even electronics!
So, like it or not, we come in contact with them on a daily basis. We even consume some without even knowing. Moreover, scientists aren’t even sure of all the potential dangers of these harmful chemicals, nor the effects of long-term exposure.
Some argue that switching to a more vegetarian diet can help us reduce the use of PFAS and help us (and the environment) stay healthy. Whatever the case, increased awareness is definitely a good start.