Hands in water

A person dips their hands in rainwater collected in a barrel. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You might think the drops you've tasted are the same as the water that comes out of your tap if you stick out your tongue. Rainwater contains a lot of small particles that get washed out before it gets to your house.

Is collecting and drinking water safe?

According to the CDC, there are a number of pollutants that can end up in the rain. If the roof or drainpipes are old, you could end up with materials such as lead and copper in your tank. If the rain is stored in an open container, it could be full of insects and dead leaves. The CDC advises against collecting and drinking rain water for a number of reasons.

Depending on where you live, the risk of illness depends on how much rain you drink. Most of the pollutants can be removed with a clean collection system and proper sterilization of the rain. There is a lot of confusion about the safety of drinking rain water.

We cannot drink saltwater.

There is a new risk associated with drinking water in the modern age. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, all over the globe, there are high levels of toxic PFAS in the water. The findings show that it is not safe to drink from the rain.

What are PFAS? 

More than 1,400 human-made chemicals and substances have historically been used for a variety of products, including textiles, firefighting foams, nonstick cookware, food packaging, artificial turf and guitar strings.

The understanding of biological impacts is based on studies of four perfluoroalkyl acids. The main focus of the study was perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorohexanesulfonic acid, and perfluorononanoic acid.

Past research has shown that these chemicals are extremely toxic and can cause a wide range of problems, including cancer, infertility, pregnant women, developmental problems, immune system conditions, and other diseases. He said that this idea has not been studied in as much detail as it could be.

Rain on roof

Researchers found that PFAS were found in dangerous levels in rainwater across the world. (Image credit: Shutterstock)
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Within the last 20 to 30 years, most of the PFAS have been either banned or heavily restricted, except in China and some other Asian countries. The health guidelines surrounding the chemicals have been adjusted. The safe level of exposure to PFOA in the US is less than it used to be according to a statement by the researchers.

It's not easy for PFAS to break down and remain in the environment for a long time. Scientists have dubbed the chemical "forever chemicals", he said.

Contaminated rainwater 

It's clear that concentrations of PFAS aren't going to decline by now. According to researchers, the PFAS represent a new planetary boundary, a conceptual limit beyond which something becomes unsafe to humans.

Is drinking coffee good for you?

It was found that PFOA levels in the water are at least 10 times higher than the EPA's safe level.

The researchers don't know how PFAS are getting to the most remote parts of the world. The team plans to test the hypothesis that the surface of the ocean are being injected into the atmosphere by ocean spray and then transported to other regions, where they fall as rain. It is1-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-6556 is1-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-65561-6556

sea spray

Researchers suspect ocean spary may be helping to cycle PFAS through the atmosphere. (Image credit: Shutterstock)
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It's too early to say how the public health impacts of PFAS-rich rain will affect the world, but they may already be underway. For the past 20 to 30 years we have been exposed at higher levels. The potential consequences of that exposure are now understood.

In developing countries, millions of people rely on rain as their only source of drinking water. In Western Australia, drinking rain water is surprisingly common.

There is no guarantee that the PFAS will be removed even if the rain is treated well. Low levels of PFCs can be found in tap and bottle water.

It will take a long time for the levels of PFAS to decrease as they get into the deep ocean.

It was originally published on Live Science