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Raindrops Keep Falling… But We Can’t Drink It

Everyone has stuck their tongue out in the rain at some point or another. One of the first memories we make as children is us playing in the rain, tasting the water falling from the sky. Imagine knowing that that same fluid could potentially poison you. 

Well, that is now a reality. As of this month, it has been confirmed that our rainwater is no longer safe to consume. The pollutants contaminating the water are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” These pollutants break down ever so slowly, thus remaining in our ecosystem for an extended period of time. Per global news, a team of researchers at Stockholm University published a journal stating that the amount of PFAS  in U.S. water exceeds that of their guideline values deemed safe. 

The lead author of this study, Ian Cousins, stated that there has been an astounding decline in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water in the last 20 years. For example, the drinking water guideline value for one well-known substance in the PFAS class, namely the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has declined by 37.5 million times in the U.S.” Cousins also said that while rainwater has been deemed unsafe to drink, many people that live in the “industrial world” seem to forget that our everyday drinking water is supplied by rainwater many times. 


Global news also noted that PFAS are in household items such as cosmetics and firefighting foams. PFAS are most dangerous if consumed through food and water mostly. The Stockholm University article states that PFAS cause serious health issues such as cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, etc. 


The scariest fact about these contaminants is that there is very little we can do to slow down, reduce or stop the spread of these “forever chemicals.” They remain in our atmosphere and are dangerous to both the environment and living creatures alike.

So next time you’re playing in the rain, you may want to rethink tasting those drops of rain.


 Edited by: Chanelle Jassim

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