Researchers in Europe have said they have found that it’s unsafe to drink rainwater due to its contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals’. The findings of their new study is published in the journal ‘Environmental Science & Technology’.
The researchers found that rainwater is contaminated with PFAS, which are human-made chemicals used in numerous products, such as food packaging and waterproof clothing. The chemicals can spread in the atmosphere and are now found across the globe, including in rainwater, snow, soil, and even human blood.
PFAS are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they can last for thousands of years. Various health conditions have been linked to PFAS contamination, including cancer, infertility, pregnancy complications, learning and behaviour problems in children, immune system issues, and higher cholesterol, the researchers wrote. During the last 20 years, countries have decreased their recommended limits for PFAS in drinking water, surface water, and soil due to new insights about their toxic nature, the researchers wrote. As a result, the levels in the environment are now higher than the recommended guidelines.