Does Reverse Osmosis Remove PFAS?

Are you wondering, “Does reverse osmosis remove PFAS?” As we learn more about the terrible side effects of these “forever” chemicals, the idea of avoiding the chemical altogether is a much better option than trying to manage the systems of ingesting this chemical, namely through the water. We’ll review what PFAS is and whether or not reverse osmosis is a viable option to get rid of this chemical.

What are PFAS, and why are they a concern?

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that are used in different products, including popular common items in our homes like nonstick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics — along with items like firefighting foam. These chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, reproductive problems, and infant developmental problems. This collection of artificial substances has been used in creating consumer products as well as industrial applications since the 1940s. They are valued for their resistance to heat, water, and other substances. If you think about waterproof clothing, food packaging like popcorn, or non-stick cookware, these are just a few of the commonly used items that PFAS touches.

In recent years, the growing consensus has been that we have to ensure that these chemicals are stopped from being used in production because of how awful their impact can be on the environment to our bodies. PFAS are extraordinarily persistent in the environment and can cause numerous health effects. We will review how Reverse Osmosis can be an effective solution in some situations.

Does reverse osmosis remove PFAS?

As a simple answer, yes, reverse osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove contaminants from water. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger molecules, such as PFAS. Reverse osmosis is mostly effective in removing PFAS from water as long as the membrane is in good working order. Studies have shown that reverse osmosis can remove up to 99% of PFAS from water.

How does reverse osmosis work?

RO works to eliminate PFAS by selective permeation, where the water is pushed through the semipermeable membrane with pressure. Because the membrane has extremely small openings, water molecules can pass through while the larger elements of contaminants are held behind.

Once your RO system is installed, the pretreated water is pressurized and ready to move against the semi-permeable membrane. The membrane is the barrier, only allowing water molecules to pass through. As the water molecules pass through the membrane, some of the water, which holds the rejected elements, is moved into a different stream called the concentrate stream. This water carries the PFAS and other contaminants to be disposed of. After treatment, there may be an activated carbon filter or other treatment to reduce any other PFAS or contaminants.

The effectiveness of reverse osmosis in removing PFAS

While RO can be very effective at getting rid of PFAS, there are a few things to consider —

  1. It’s important to remember that it is not 100% effective or efficient.
  2. You will have to regularly monitor and maintain your RO system to make sure that it stays effective.
  3. The effectiveness of reverse osmosis in removing PFAS depends on a number of factors, including the type of PFAS, the concentration of PFAS in the water, and the quality of the reverse osmosis system.

The pros and cons of using reverse osmosis to remove PFAS

There are several pros and cons to using reverse osmosis to remove PFAS. Some of the pros include:

  • Effective in removing PFAS from water.
  • Remaining a relatively affordable option.

Some of the cons include:

  • Removing some beneficial minerals from water.
  • Producing a lot of wastewater.
  • Upkeeping as the reject stream holding the PFAS should be managed well to prevent any further environmental contamination.

What is the best way to remove PFAS from water?

The best way to remove PFAS from water depends on a number of factors, including the level of PFAS contamination, the type of PFAS, and the budget. Reverse osmosis is an effective option, but weighing the pros and cons before deciding on the right solution for your home is important. NH Tap is solving real issues for our state’s PFAS problems. We have a PFAS-specific solution as well as whole home water filtration systems that can effectively treat your entire home, giving you a more comprehensive solution than Reverse Osmosis.

Contact us today to review your options and set up a PFAS water test.

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