Everywhere on Earth, rainwater has become undrinkable

Dans l'eau de pluie et la neige, les PFAS, des substances chimiques très persistantes dans l'environnement, ont contaminé la Planète entière, selon une étude. © zsv3207, Adobe Stock

They are called “eternal chemicals” because of their persistence in the environment. PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl) are known to cause serious health problems. In the two most remote regions of the planet, Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau, levels of PFAS 14 times higher than the recommendations are measured. According to a study, a planetary limit is even exceeded, making rainwater unfit for consumption. The good news is that, over the past 20 years, the rate has stabilized.

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Earth’s rainwater is undrinkable due to the presence of toxic chemicals that exceed recommended levels, according to a recent study by scientists from Stockholm University. ” There is nowhere on Earth where rainwater would be safe to drink, according to the data we used “, declares to AFP Ian Cousins, professor at the University of Stockholm and main author of the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

His team studied data compiled since 2010 and showed that “ even in Antarctica or on the Tibetan plateau, the levels present in rainwater are above the proposed recommendations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “, he adds.

Normally considered intact, both regions have levels of PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkylated)” 14 times higher » to the American recommendations for drinking water. More commonly referred to as “eternal chemicals” because they decay extremely slowly, PFAS, originally present in the packagesshampoos or even makeuphave spread into our environment, including water andair.

Once ingested, PFAS accumulate in the body.

According to some studies, exposure to PFAS can have effects on fertility and fetal development. It can also lead to increased risks ofobesity or some cancer (prostate, kidneys and testicles) and increased levels of cholesterol. The EPA recently lowered the recommended PFAS threshold, after discovering that these chemicals could have an impact on the immune response Has vaccines in children, notes Ian Cousins.

These substances have contaminated the planet “irreversibly”

According to Ian Cousins, PFAS are now “so persistent” and ubiquitous that they will never disappear from Earth. ” We have made the planet inhospitable to human life by contaminating it irreversibly, so that nothing is clean. And to the point that it’s not clean enough to be sure he says.

We’ve crossed a planetary boundary

We’ve crossed a planetary boundary “, declares Ian Cousins, in reference to a model making it possible to evaluate the capacity of the Earth to absorb the impact of human activity. The scientist notes, however, that the levels of PFAS in the organism of human beings have decreased ” quite significantly over the past 20 years ” and ” the ambient level (of PFAS in the environment) has remained the same for the last 20 years “.

It’s the recommendations that have changed “, specifies the researcher, explaining that the recommended level of PFAS has been lowered “ millions of times since the early 2000s, because we know more about the toxicity of these substances “. Despite the findings of the study, Ian Cousins ​​believes that we must learn to ” to live with “.

I’m not terribly worried about daily exposure to mountains, waterways, or food. We can’t escape it… We’ll just have to live with it. But that’s not an ideal situation, where you’ve contaminated the environment to the point that natural exposure isn’t really safe. “.

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