How To Reduce Forever Chemicals (PFAS) in Your Water

April 11, 2024


You probably know your tap water isn't 100% pure. And you may even be aware of some substances that make your drinking water dirty, such as lead. But your tap water may contain many other chemicals, too. One group of contaminants is called PFAS, also known as forever chemicals.

What are PFAS?

PFAS are called "forever chemicals" because they literally never break down, and remain in the environment forever. Because of this, they're also some of the most common contaminants in drinking water

PFAS stands for polyfluoroalkyl substances. According the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 15,000 PFAS exist, and two of the most often studied are perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).


Frying pan containing PFAs - ZeroWater


Where Do PFAS Come From?

PFAS are man-made chemicals. They can be found in many everyday products such as paint, non-stick cookware and cleaning products. Some PFAS are also used for very specific purposes, and are found in things like firefighting foam, medical devices, and even cosmetics and contact lenses.

How Do PFAS Get Into Our Water?

Some of these items such as firefighting foam, paint and cleaning products can seep into the ground or be washed down household drains. They eventually find their way into ground water and municipal water supplies.

One study done by the EPA in conjunction with the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory and others found that "approximately half the US population likely receive water with PFOA/PFOS concentrations."

What Do PFAS Do To Your Body?

The NIH has reported on the health risks PFAS pose to the human body. The CDC has also weighed in on the risks of PFAS, including:


  • Increased cholesterol
  • Cancers like kidney and testicular
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease

Effects on fetal development:

  • Increased miscarriage risk
  • Lower birth weight
  • Reduced response to vaccines
  • Low sperm count and motility

You can significantly lower your exposure to any of these health risks simply by filtering your water.

How to Find out if There Are PFAS in Your Water

  • Test It Yourself: At-home water test kits aren't able to test for PFAS in your water. Only a laboratory test can determine the presence of PFAS. You can buy one from a company that provides them. 
  • Ask Your Local Municipal Authority: You can contact your water utility for a laboratory water test kit, or to simply ask for the information.

Play It Safe: Use a water filtration device, regardless of whether you've tested your water. To be even safer, use a filter that is able to reduce at least some PFAS.


How to Avoid PFAS

PFAS are in many items we use day to day, so to avoid them, you can make some changes in your life. This includes things such as using ceramic cookware instead of non-stick, and wearing natural cosmetics that specify they do not contain PFAS. 

Also consider switching to natural cleaning products in your home such as baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice and castile soap.

Many manufacturers and retailers have instituted "no PFAS" policies for their products as well. The list includes everything from clothing, to furniture and rugs, to baby products, to textiles.

Finally, you can reduce your exposure to some PFAS by drinking filtered water. 

How to Reduce PFAS in Water

One of the most effective ways to reduce PFAS exposure is to avoid water that contains them. If you've determined that PFAS are present in your tap water, the next step is to reduce them. 

Remember, it's not possible to break down or destroy them, but some PFAS can be filtered out of water to a certain degree, if you have the right kind of filter.

Take Control of Your Water and Your Health

At ZeroWater, we believe you should have zero doubt about your drinking water. Our 5-stage filters not only remove 94.9% of PFOA and PFOS, but other contaminants like lead and pesticides. And you can conveniently get your water from ZeroWater pitchers or dispensers.

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“Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)” - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences -

“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in United States tap water: Comparison of underserved private-well and public-supply exposures and associated health implications” - Science Direct -

“Home Water Testing” - Environmental Protection Agency -