A new study from Sweden suggests that all the rainwater in the world is polluted, making it undrinkable.
A recent Swedish study has brought a hot topic back to the fore: global water pollution. According to scientists at Stockholm University, the damage is already done, and rainwater is paying the consequences. They explain that they measured PFAS levels 14 times higher than the recommendations of the EPA, the American environmental protection agency, in raindrops that fell in Antarctica and on the peaks of the Himalayas.
These two regions, very sparsely populated, may seem less affected by human pollution, but this is not the case. The study is formal, the “eternal chemical particles” are present in the water of these two ultra-remote regions of the globe. Ian Cousins, author of the study, therefore draws the following conclusion: no place on Earth allows to have rainwater clean for consumption “. This observation, very hard, is a new sign of the alarming progress of pollution levels everywhere on the planet.
PFAS: eternal particles
In his article, the researcher incriminates in particular PFAS, so-called “eternal” chemicals, because they disintegrate very slowly. If originally they were used in packaging, shampoos or make-up, today these products are present in quantity in the air, and therefore also in water.
This discovery raises a whole public health debate, because PFAS cannot be eliminated by the human body, once they are in the body, it is forever. According to the EPA, PFAS can have consequences on fertility and the development of the fetus in pregnant women, but they can also play a role in the appearance of certain cancers (kidney, prostate, testicle).
If this discovery by Ian Collins is therefore alarming, some scientists are less pessimistic for the future. Unlike the Stockholm University professor, they don’t think the planet is irreversibly contaminated “.
They note that PFAS levels decreased “ quite significantly over the past 20 yearsin the human body. As far as our environment is concerned, the rates would be “fairly similar” over the past two decades.
Chemicals still for sale on the market
As a reminder, PFAS are still not banned for sale in many countries, including France. Present in the world of industry since the 1940s, PFAS are a variety of chemical products (there are 4700 of them in all) which have the particularity of lasting very well over time.
Today you can find PFAS in non-stick cooking utensils, in food packaging or even in cosmetics. A rare country to have decided to do without PFAS, Denmark has been acting as a global laboratory since July 2020.
Manufacturers around the world are trying to find a solution to continue producing while stopping using these products which are a disaster for the planet, but also for us.