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Rainwater Everywhere Now Considered Too Toxic for Safe Consumption, Study Finds

Harmful chemicals called PFAS can be found even in remote regions of Tibet and Antarctica.

by Becky Ferreira

Atmospheric levels of toxic “forever chemicals” are so high that rainwater everywhere contains amounts that are unsafe for long-term human consumption according to safety guidelines, scientists say.

Hazardous pollutants known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they break down so slowly over time, are present at such elevated levels in environments around the world that scientists believe the ubiquitous contamination has now exceeded a safe planetary boundary, reports a new study.

These chemicals are in the air we breath, the water we drink, the rain that falls on our communities, and even our blood. PFAS pollution is known to negatively affect the immune system, but the full impact of exposure on human and ecological health is not known.

In light of the many open questions about this pollution, scientists led by Ian Cousins, a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University, have conducted field tests of four kinds of PFAS and analyzed countless other measurements. The team now warns that “even in these remote and sparsely populated regions, such as Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau, the most stringent PFAs guidelines are exceeded… read more

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