What are forever chemicals and are they harmful in drinking water?

What are forever chemicals and are they harmful in drinking water?

Since the water on our planet is constantly recycled and never used up, we should take it seriously when studies now are showing that rain water all over the world is containing substances that are dubbed “forever chemicals”. 

These “forever chemicals”  take ages to break down and the synthetic substances are poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS in short. Scientists have known about these chemicals for 20 years and the inability to break down in the environment has been a concern.

Resevoir of water

PFAS are fluorine-based compounds and they are found in almost every dwelling on Earth in hundreds of everyday products including food packaging, non-stick cookware, rain gear, adhesives, paper, paint and firefighter foam.  

PFAS found in rainwater

PFAS has now been found in rainwater all over the world, and evidence suggests that soil around the world is similarly contaminated. Scientists say that we are in a place now where you can't live anywhere on the planet, and be sure that the environment is safe.

The research on what health risks PFAS might cause the human body has so far been inconclusive. However, according to scientists, exposure to high levels of PFAS may be associated with an increased risk of some cancers, fertility issues and development delays in children.

Discovery of PFAS in Drinking water

St Ouen Bay Channel Islands Jersey

Even though some of these harmful PFAS were phased out by manufacturer two decades ago, there are many still in use today and they still persist in water, air and soil. Scientists are for this reason concerned that humans will in time be exposed to PFAS through their drinking water.

In the UK the BBC made a thorough investigation and found evidence of PFAS chemicals in drinking water that exceeded the safe European levels, in the UK and in particular in Jersey where residents have been suffering a variety of health related issues after the drinking water aquifer had become polluted with PFAS chemicals in the 1990’s.

PFAS in Malta 

A study in Malta made by PhD Godwin Sammut focused on several environmental matrices, including rainwater, valley water, seawater, groundwater, tap water, bottled water, wastewater, valley sediments and soils, as well as local fruit and vegetables. The thesis revealed PFAS presence in drinking water, fruit and vegetables. In fact all sediment samples were contaminated with at least one PFAS. 

The concentrations of PFASs in groundwater on the Maltese islands were below the parameters set by the Directive 98/83/EC. For now the PFAS in Malta is on a safe level but since these contaminators are resistant to environmental degradation they will stay in the environment for many years to come. 

Since research now has found links between PFAS and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and some cancer diseases we do not know how bad the effect of the human body will be in the future.

Using a water filter removes PFAS chemicals

The good news is that a water filter using activated carbon blocks is capable of removing PFAS from the drinking water. So if you had any doubts up to now about installing a water filter in your home I hope that you now have made up your mind. TAPP Water offers the TAPP EcoPro water filter that you can install all by yourself. 


TAPP Waters Eco Pro and Eco Pro Compact filters remove microplastics and PFAS chemicals from your water, filtering 100s of other contaminants from your drinking water.  

They do not require much maintenance, you only need to change the filters on a regular basis and the filters has been independently tested and you can find the result online.

TAPP water also offers a taste test guarantee that allows you to try TAPP Water for 45 days in your own home so you can make a proper decision for yourself.


TAPP waters mission in Malta is to reduce the use of plastic bottles and we are happy for every new TAPP Hero who joins us!

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