PFOS not widespread in drinking water

A recent study has found that perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) is not a widespread contaminant of drinking water in England.

The report has been published in Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management's (CIWEM) Water and Environment Journal.

PFOS has a number of industrial and commercial uses, including as a surfactant for fire-fighting foam, a mist suppressant for metal-plating baths and in dirt-repellent treatments such as those used in the textile and carpet industries.

Studies have shown PFOS to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic and very resistant to breakdown processes found in the environment. PFOS contamination is thought to have occurred only after specific pollution incidents.

The study monitored 20 raw and treated drinking water sites in England to assess whether PFOS contamination is prevalent in raw and drinking water.

It showed that PFOS is not a widespread background contaminant and, concentrations were below the current English and Welsh drinking water guidance levels. Alison Brown



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