Is Your Drinking Water Safe?
“Ken Wamsley sometimes dreams that he’s playing softball again,” the Intercept writes, hitting homers high over the fence or standing at center field, “just like when he played slow pitch back in his teens.” 1
To him, these seemingly easy dream-scenarios are all nightmares. It's not the content of the dreams that's so frightening, but the rude awakening he's in for at the end, when, in his own words, “I wake up and I have no rectum anymore.” 2
In other dreams Wamsley, now in his early 70s, will find himself back at work as a DuPont lab analyst, surrounded by beakers of bubbling liquid. This is where his real-life nightmare all started.
Wamsley worked in DuPont's Teflon division, and for years was exposed to perfluorinated chemicals, a family of synthetic substances (called PFCs or PFASs for short) which we now know — and DuPont likely knew at the time — are not only harmful to human health but can be lethal.
Due to his exposure, Wamsley developed severe ulcerative colitis, and ultimately, rectal cancer. This class of chemicals is also associated with numerous other deadly cancers (kidney, testicular, thyroid, etc.), birth defects, high cholesterol, and hormonal problems to name a few. 3
Yet, in spite of the fact that PFCs/PFASs have left a trail of cancer, death, and lawsuits in their wake, they remain unregulated and in use. They're still used in numerous industrial processes and countless commercial products.
And it gets worse. You don't need to have worked in the Teflon factory like Ken Wamsley to be affected, because these chemicals are everywhere.
Not only that, but they were purposefully designed not to break down, so they accumulate in the environment and inside our bodies.
In fact, a sweeping study published August 9, 2016 by the American Chemical Society found these chemicals have a “ubiquitous presence” in the environment.
They also cite data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that shows there are “detectable serum PFAS concentrations in virtually all individuals (97%). 4
That's right, unless you're in that fortunate 3% sliver of the U.S. population, you too have these noxious chemicals inside you.
And PFCs/PFASs are turning up in our drinking water in alarming quantities.
This is particularly bad news because these chemicals are water soluble, and a little goes a long way, i.e. “relatively low PFAS concentrations can lead to elevated exposures.” 5 And elevated exposure can lead to deadly diseases like cancer.
So even at a low exposure, this stuff is serious, and many drinking water sources in the United States have extreme concentrations. For example, one particularly heinous PFAS variety, called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA for short, was found in drinking water at concentrations 190-fold higher than the lifetime health advisory. 6
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this toxic drinking water was found near yet another DuPont plant in Washington, West Virginia.
In addition to chemical plants, high levels of these toxins are also frequently found in drinking water near civilian airports, military fire training areas, and wastewater treatment plants. 7
Keeping Your Drinking Water Safe
If you're concerned about your water's safety, there are a few steps you can take.
First, I encourage you to inspect the map from the American Chemical Society's sweeping study to see if your drinking water is known to be at risk. You can find that map here: Detectable PFASs in Drinking Water.
Secondly, and no matter what — even if you clearly live in a zone that is below detection or unaffected by this class of chemical — always filter your drinking water!
The fact remains that there are more than 60,000 unregulated synthetic chemicals in use today. 8 Some of them, like the PFAS family, are already known to be dangerous while for others, the jury's still out.
Either way, clean and pure drinking water is essential for good health, and purchasing a high-quality water filter is one of the simplest steps you can take to protect your health.
Dr. Jack Wolfson
Senior Editor, Clear Health Now
Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC is a board-certified cardiologist who believes bad nutrition and toxins create heart health problems. He prevents and treats cardiovascular disease with good nutrition, not medicines and treats the whole person, not just the symptoms.