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Wednesday September 28, 2022

Rainwater unsafe to drink due to chemicals

By AFP
August 11, 2022

STOCKHOLM: Rainwater everywhere on the planet is unsafe to drink due to levels of toxic chemicals known as PFAS that exceed the latest guidelines, according to a new study by Stockholm University scientists.

Commonly known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they disintegrate extremely slowly, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) were initially found in packaging, shampoo or makeup but have spread to our entire environment, including water and air.

"There is nowhere on Earth where the rain would be safe to drink, according to the measurements that we have taken," Ian Cousins, a professor at the university and the lead author of the study published in Environmental Science and Technology, told AFP.

A compilation of the data since 2010 that his team studied showed that "even in Antarctica or the Tibetan plateau, the levels in the rainwater are above the drinking water guidelines that the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) proposed", he said. Normally considered pristine, the two regions still have PFAS levels "14 times higher" than the US drinking water guidelines.

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