The eternal pollution of our drinking water by PFAS

“PFAS” – poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances – are a group of more than 9,000 harmful chemicals made by humans. The substances cause serious health problems – from cancer to infertility – and are difficult to break down in the environment. This is why they are called the “forever chemicals”.

Scientists from the University of Stockholm and the ETH in Zurich have discovered that our rainwater is also full of PFAS. It falls from the sky in torrents and is found even in the most remote places in the world, such as in the snow in the Himalayas. It is also unsafe to drink rainwater in Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau.

“Right now there is little we can do to limit the spread of PFAS on Earth,” concludes Professor Martin Scheringer of the ETH in Zurich, one of the authors of the study in Environmental Science & Technology. “PFAS are in an ongoing cycle and will continue to exceed environmental standards in the future.”