Environmentalists in Canada are concerned about a type of perfluorinated chemical called perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). But what exactly is PFOS and why might it be a hazard to the environment? To help give you a better understanding, here are the answers to four FAQs when it comes to PFOS.
1. What Is PFOS?
These four letters stand for a synthetic chemical substance called perfluorooctane sulfonate. PFOS belongs to a large family of compounds called perfluorinated chemicals. These particular compounds contain carbon atoms that get saturated by fluorine. PFOS was imported into Canada between the years 1997 and 2000 and used it in water, grease repellants, and oil to make things like paper, fabrics, and fire-fighting foams.
2. Why Are Environmentalists Concerned About PFOS?
Currently, PFOS can be found on the Government of Canada's list of toxic substances. According to researchers and environmentalists, concentrations of PFOS have been found in the air, groundwater, soil, and even in the tissues of wildlife and fish. PFOS has been proven to contaminate drinking water and food, as well as have adverse effects in certain animals, such as fish, mallard ducks, quails, bobwhites, and rats. Some of the species of plants that have been negatively affected by PFOS include: alfalfa, ryegrass, soybean, lettuce, flax, and onion.
3. What Is Being Done About PFOS in Canada?
Canada is no longer importing PFOS and has strict regulations in place that prohibit the use of it in most instances. Canada has also developed guidelines such as the following to further study the effects of PFOS and to learn whether or not it is still harming the environment:
- Federal Water Quality Guideline
- Federal Fish Tissue Guideline
- Federal Wildlife Dietary Guideline
- Federal Tissue Quality Guideline for Bird Egg
- Federal Soil Quality Guideline
- Federal Soil Quality Guideline to Protect Livestock Watering
The Government of Canada is also working with other countries around the world to limit production of PFOS.
4. Should Canadians Be Concerned About Their Drinking Water?
The government does not monitor PFOS at water treatment plants. However, when it has been found in drinking water, it is at less than 1 ng/L. Unfortunately conventional methods for removing perfluorinated compounds has not been effective for PFOS. However, there are some promising PFOS treatment methods that are still being studied. Some of these treatments methods include Granular activated carbon (GAC) adsorption and membrane filtration techniques, such as reverse osmosis. The Canadian government has stated that the current levels of PFOS is not considered a health concern to human beings.
Contact a company, like PFOS-PFOA Treatment LLC, for more help.