Rainwater is no longer drinkable anywhere on Earth, study says

The report notes that the presence of permanent chemicals linked to cancer  in rainwater make it unsafe to drink.

Rainwater is no longer drinkable everywhere on our planet, a new study indicates. A group of environmental scientists were the authors of this report that indicates that contamination  with permanent chemical substances in the liquid are linked to cancer, which rules out that it can be consumed by living beings without consequence for their health.

According to the article published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology  on August 2, researchers from Stockholm University concluded that rainwater throughout the Earth is not safe to drink according to the pollution standards of the United States.

The report explains that this is because rainwater across our planet now contains perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Scientists involved in the study have been studying these components for a decade and found evidence that they have spread throughout the Earth’s atmosphere without exception.

PFAS have contaminated rainwater

There are thousands of types of PFAS and they can be found in human-made items such as food packaging, water-repellent clothing, furniture, carpets, non-stick coatings on pots and pans, fire-fighting foam, electronics and in some shampoos and cosmetics.

What’s worse, during their production and daily use, these chemicals can be released into the air and seep into ocean water or aerosolize into sea spray, spreading through the atmosphere and falling as rain.

Another name for PFAS is “eternal chemicals” because they last for a long time without breaking down, allowing them to accumulate in people, animals, and even the environment. For this reason, their traces have been found in Antarctica and the Arctic sea ice.

The presence of PFAS in the world represents a danger to human health since studies conducted by experts have linked them to some types of cancer, decreased fertility, reduced response to vaccines, high cholesterol and developmental complications. of the kids.

However, as with microplastics, it is quite difficult to detect all the long-lasting effects of PFAS exposure on human health, as there are so many of them. The study suggests that the entire planet is at risk because of its seepage into the entire atmosphere and because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tightened its guidelines on how much can safely be in drinking water.

PFAS and their harmful effect on humans

Researchers at the University of Stockholm evaluated the levels of PFAS in the Earth’s rainwater and soil to compare them with the limits established by regulatory bodies, concluding that the levels of these substances in rainwater far exceed the amount allowed by the EPA.

“Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater around the world would be considered unsafe for consumption ,” said Ian Cousins , lead author of the study and professor in the Department of Science. Environmental Sciences from Stockholm University.

“Although we don’t often drink rainwater [directly] in the industrial world, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink, and it supplies many of our drinking water sources,” he said. 

In addition to rainwater, the document also indicated that the soil is “pervasively contaminated” with PFAS . Because they persist for so long and circulate through Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and soil so efficiently, the scientists said levels will remain dangerously high.