High Levels of PFAS ‘Forever Chemical’ Contaminants in London’s Drinking Water, Independent Investigation Reveals

Press Release: March 13, 2024

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High Levels of PFAS ‘Forever Chemical’ Contaminants in London’s Drinking Water, Independent Investigation Reveals
LONDON, UK. March 13th, 2024 – Bluewater, a leading sustainable water purification and beverage solutions pioneer, has discovered significant contamination of London’s tap water by health-threatening ‘forever’ chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS. Studies have linked PFOA and PFOS linked to cancer, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, liver damage, asthma, allergies, reduced fertility, birth defects, and delayed development.

Tap water samples taken by a Bluewater research team from three separate London locations – Harrow, Heathrow, and Battersea – reinforced warnings from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2023 that the UK was lagging other developed nations in establishing safe thresholds for hazardous PFAS chemicals in tap water. The water samples were sent to an independent bio-analytical testing group to be analysed specifically for PFAS chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). 

Bluewater says the tests revealed the Harrow water sample had a PFOS level of 14 nanograms a litre (ng/l), which would be 1.4 times the maximum limit for its presence in tap water under proposals put forward by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) which described the existing regulatory infrastructure in the UK as ‘not fit for purpose’.  

In a damning policy paper, the RSC said the UK lags other international standards concerning PFAS. As a case in point, if the contamination levels detected in the Bluewater study were to be scrutinized under new Swedish drinking water regulations currently being fully implemented, the levels of harmful PFAS-4 contaminants detected in London tap water by the Bluewater research would exceed Sweden’s regulatory limits six-fold – or 550 percent! 

The tap water samples taken from the two other locations were also found to contain worrying levels of PFOA and PFOS contaminants that the US Environmental Protection Agency say have no safe level and should be assigned a “Maximum Contaminant Limit” (MCL) goal of zero.  

Bluewater’s Chief Research Scientist, Dr Ahmed Fawzy, expressed grave concern over the findings. He said, “The results of the study are deeply disturbing. Discovering PFAS-related chemicals in London’s drinking water at such high levels raises serious health concerns that require immediate attention as they exceed thresholds that consumer protection bodies in the EU and US deem harmful to human health.”

Noting that the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also pointed to the urgent need for statutory PFAS monitoring and regulatory standards, Dr Fawzy described Britain’s existing PFAS thresholds as “confusing”. He believes local and national health authorities should urgently heed the RSC’s call for current PFAS levels to be severely re-evaluated and tightened by a sharp 90% reduction in the maximum guideline level from the current 100 ng/l to 10 ng/L.”

The presence of specific PFAS compounds such as PFOS and PFOA, part of the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances family, is particularly alarming due to their potential health risks. PFOA and PFOS are found everywhere around the planet today, in soil and surface water – as well as drinking water – due to their wide use in products ranging from food packaging to clothes, cosmetics, and fire-fighting foam. Recent analysis has indicated that 35 percent of water courses tested in England contain medium or high-risk levels of PFOS and PFOA, compared to 37 percent in Wales.

Bluewater’s Chief Purpose Officer, Philip Russell, says the company is willing to share its research with London city authorities. And would step up to help support pro-active initiatives by health authorities to increase awareness and legislation around healthy hydration and improved water quality.

“Bluewater aspires to improve worldwide access to clean, safe, and sustainable drinking water and our London investigation underlines how our mission is more critical than ever,” said Philip Russell. He added that Bluewater is working to redefine hydration to positively impact human health, eliminate global reliance on polluting single-use plastics, and deploy innovative technologies to create safe and healthy drinking water when and where it’s needed. 

“Bluewater’s ground-breaking range of under-sink purifiers enable consumers and businesses to end their reliance on bottled water while restoring trust in the water flowing directly from their taps. Bluewater SuperiorOsmosis™ reverse osmosis technology successfully removes PFAS chemical pollutants from contaminated drinking water at the same time as dramatically reducing the water wastage and energy consumption common to traditional RO technology, further reinforcing our company-wide commitment to sustainability,” Philip Russell said.

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