Micropollutants are manmade chemicals that contaminate drinking water supplies in the U.S. and around the world.
With recent advances in detection technologies, a new class of pollutants has recently been identified in the drinking water in much of the U.S. and other countries around the world. These new contaminants are called “micropollutants” because they exist in extremely low concentrations (parts per billion or trillion). However, even at such low concentrations, many of these micropollutants pose a serious health threat to people who drink or are exposed to water containing these contaminants.
Micropollutants consist of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, fluorocarbons, and other industrial chemicals, which are discharged into drinking water through industrial, municipal and agricultural wastestreams. A decade of government studies have shown extensive micropollutant contamination of surface and groundwaters. These same studies have shown the incomplete removal of micropollutants at drinking water treatment facilities, allowing passage of contaminants from source waters to consumers.

The hazard of micropollutants is that they persist in water resources and can be toxic at trace concentrations. A growing number of contaminants, including the pesticides atrazine and chlorpyrifos, estrogens, bisphenol A (BPA), and perfluorinated compounds, are linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems and endocrine disorders.
Per/Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
A Toxic Threat to Communities.
Perfluorinated Compounds (PFASs) are a highly toxic class
of micropollutants currently causing great distress to
communities across the country. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic
acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) are the most
prevalent PFAS compounds, responsible for
life-threatening health problems.
Studies have linked exposure to these chemicals at part
per trillion concentrations to multiple cancers, thyroid
disease and developmental disorders. PFASs are
pervasive in the environment and in our bodies, with
studies reporting PFAS concentrations in the blood serum
of 97% of the U.S. population. Infants and newborns are
vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals, which are
passed on from mothers through breast milk and prenatal
transfer.
PFAS exposure comes primarily from drinking water. Elevated PFAS concentrations have been
measured in drinking water across the country, especially near industrial sites, military airbases,
and wastewater treatment plants. Monitoring data suggests that the drinking water of up to 50
million Americans may be contaminated by PFAS. Over the past two years, numerous
communities have been forced to shut down drinking water sources due to harmful levels of
contamination.
In May 2016, the U.S. EPA lowered its PFAS health advisory from 400 ppt to 70 ppt with many
states adopting limits as low as 6 ppt. Studies show that blood serum PFAS levels rise by 25%
with every 10ppt increase in PFAS concentration. Exposure at EPA’s current advisory level of 70ppt
will result in a 175% increase over normal PFAS blood accumulations.
Micropollutants exist at trace concentrations of less than 1 teaspoon in an Olympic size pool
Micropollutants pass easily through municipal drinking water treatment plants and consumer water filtration systems.
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Micropollutants such as PFOA and PFOS have been linked to cancers, endocrine disorders, thyroid disorders, and developmental defects.
Most consumer water purification systems are not designed to remove hazardous micropollutants.
The volume of water in an Olympic sized pool is equivalent to 507,210,240 teaspoons.
PFOS bioaccumlates and is now found in the blood serum of 97% of the U.S. population.
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Micropollutants found in our water supply include pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and solvents, and substances used in personal care products.
90% of consumed prescription drugs end up in waste water.
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Community water systems supply tap water to 85% of the U.S. population.  Local wells serve the remaining 15%.  Hundreds of micropollutants have been identified in both water sources.
The drinking water of over 100 million Americans contains micropollutants
5 things to know about micropollutants
Micropollutants
Invisible compounds that contaminate our drinking water.
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