Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and other chemicals. PFAS were originally developed to help extinguish large petroleum fires after a deadly fire on the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in 1967. The use of PFAS expanded to ScotchGard™ stain protectors, water resistant Gore-Tex clothing and shoes, grease resistant microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes, teflon coated pots and pans, dental floss, and more. As the uses of these synthetic chemicals has grown, so has the prevalence of PFAS being found in the US population and the environment because these complex molecules do not break down easily. Outdoor adventurers in the US used to previously only have to worry about bacteria and protozoa in freshwater sources but that is no longer the case.
The risks of PFAS in humans include an increased risk for cancer, fertility problems, high cholesterol, thyroid and liver diseases, and developmental conditions in babies and children. Wolverine Worldwide® in Rockford, Michigan is currently dealing with an on-going issue with the formerly used chemicals in their tanneries leaching into the local water table, contaminating the water source for many homes in the surrounding area. Wolverine World Wide is the defendant in more than 140 lawsuits regarding drinking water contaminated with PFAS. These contaminated water sources have been exposed thousands of local residents as well as more than two dozen Detroit Tiger players like outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.
Michigan is not the only state with this issue but according to environmental activists, the state is at the forefront of tracking contamination. In Michigan alone there are more than 40 sites where groundwater contamination levels exceed the EPA’s heath advisory limit and more than 11,000 sites where PFAS were used. As we learn more and more about the adverse effects of these chemicals, more locations in which the local water systems have been contaminated with toxic levels around the country are being confirmed including California, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida. More than 90 US Military bases have also been identified to have unsafe levels of PFAS.
The Sawyer® Select Series of water filters and purifiers are capable of filtering out chemicals (including PFAS), pesticides, herbicides and more. The Select S3 can also remove viruses and heavy metals as well. The Select Series of filters and purifiers use advanced foam filtration technology developed in partnership with Foamulations Inc in Maryland. This highly advanced technology uses chemical adsorption to filter out these harmful chemicals and other pathogens from the water in 10 seconds. Not only is this new technology effective, it is also very affordable. These systems output ~20 ounces of water and use per cost ranges from <$0.04 to <$0.25. The silicone bottles and foam filtration are both recyclable when fully used while the Micro Squeeze Filter™ on top is rated up to 100,000 gallons.
Learn more at sawyer.com/select or for more up to date information on where PFAS can be found, please visit https://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2017_pfa/