PFAS Bottled Water

Personal Story

In the Summer of 2022, I visited some of my family in Massachusetts. I have personally always looked up to Massachusetts for its environmental policies. My family’s house was in an area of concern for high levels of PFAS. Their town had higher requirements than the EPA, so they recommended their residents drink bottled water. My family had jugs of bottled water out. I felt guilty because I was drinking their supply. I drink a lot of water. While I knew in the back of my mind that PFAS was in bottled water, too, I kept drinking it. 

I first heard of PFAS at the 2021 Indiana Water Summit. The summit had a session about removing PFAS from firehouses. PFAS are not just found in firehouses. Click here to learn more about where PFAS live in your life. 

What is in your water?

Many people are unaware of what is in their water. PFAS can be a significant concern as water contaminants are on the rise. If you’re curious about your water, click here. Quickly emerging as one of the most troublesome, PFAS is raising eyebrows nationwide.

PFAS are widely used, long-lasting chemicals. Also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS have been used in paper, textiles, cookware, electronics, and more since 1940. Due to their heavy presence and persistence in the environment, PFAS can be found in people and animals' air, water, soil, and blood. Several scientific studies have found PFAS in the environment to have harmful effects on animals and humans. PFAS have been linked to various types of cancers and learning delays in children. However, with such a prevalence, much is still unknown; thus, PFAS are relatively unregulated.

In Indiana, PFAS have been discovered to have a heavy presence in two areas. Clark and Morgan County water systems were found to have a concerning concentration. The concentrations found in both regions are believed to have originated from upstream manufacturers, factories, or hazardous waste facilities, causing groundwater further downstream to become contaminated. Indiana American Water purchased the water system in Charlestown in 2019 and has since invested over $4 million into the water system and begun construction on a new water treatment facility that will allow the addition of a PFAS removal process. 

Thankfully for Indiana, PFAS are not as prominent as in other states such as Massachusetts. After appointing a task force to investigate PFAS contamination in water in 2020, a final report was issued in April 2022. Shortly after, Attorney General Healey sued 13 PFAS manufacturers for knowingly contaminating drinking water sources and causing millions of dollars in damage across the state. Furthermore, after the EPA released drinking water advisories for PFAS contamination, many communities began to rely on bottled water.

Bottled Water Contains PFAS

Despite an assumed safety, bottled water has been found to contain PFAS. While impossible to eliminate, spring water has been found to have a concerning amount of PFAS still. Studies have shown that purified water has a significantly lower amount of PFAS.

With tap and bottled water testing revealing high levels of PFAS, action is being called for. Considerable steps have already been taken by the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed a bill designating some PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. The bill would allow the EPA to begin cleaning up areas polluted by PFAS chemicals. The U.S. Senate is currently considering the PFAS Action Act of 2021.

The most important takeaway is to stay informed about food and drink choices. Do not assume all packaged items are perfectly safe.