In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed, requiring owners and operators of public water supplies to adhere to a written set of guidelines for the quality of water they provide. This was to ensure that all Americans had access to safe drinking water.
According to Water Quality Products, SDWA has specifications about more than 90 different contaminants that could make their way into a water source. For each of them, there is an action level or treatment technique assigned to it. It's because of the SDWA and the requirements it presents to public water suppliers that Americans generally trust the water they run from their kitchen or bathroom tap.
However, while SDWA's list of contaminants and the proper response to them is extensive, it doesn't address every contaminant out there. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are 100 chemicals that could enter a public water supply, but aren't included in the SDWA yet. Many are insecticides and fungicides, but one type of substance that has many people worried is perfluorinated chemicals.
According to the EPA, Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid is most often used in foams for fire fighting. It has also been used to treat fabrics to prevent stains and damage from soil, water and oil, though PFOS is gradually being phased out of common use. Another PFC, Perfluorooctanoic acid, is often used in coatings for nonstick cookware and for waterproof, breathable fabrics.
Water Quality Products reported that even low levels of PFOS and PFOA can result in negative health effects, especially in infants. Both types of PFCs have been found in drinking water in New York, Colorado, New Jersey and Alabama, and the EPA is now taking measures to provide guidelines on how to address the presence of these chemicals.
The EPA issued a health advisory about these two chemicals in 2009, and has since updated the advisory. It's now a lifetime health advisory that suggests levels of the two chemicals to be fewer than 0.07 parts per billion combined.
As more consumers grow aware of PFCs, many will become concerned that it is present in their drinking water. It's important that your customers know how to safely avoid consuming these chemicals. Tests have shown that activated carbon and reverse osmosis point-of-use water treatment devices have been effective in reducing these chemicals. You can help your customers improve their water quality at home by offering financing programs that will allow them to purchase point-of-use and point-of-entry water treatment devices without worrying about spending a large amount of money at once.
Water Quality Products pointed out that the list of potential contaminants that aren't regulated by the SDWA will continue to change and grow as advances in technology, health care and other industries are made. It's important that consumers can turn to knowledgeable experts who can help them understand how to avoid these toxins.