The presence of PFAS in New Zealand wastewaters, coastal waters, and surface waters has been confirmed by University of Auckland researchers.
This is not surprising, they say, as PFAS are found everywhere on the planet. But how they have got into New Zealand’s water system specifically is unknown.
“We have no known PFAS manufacturing industry in New Zealand,” says Dr Lokesh Padhye, a research team member from the university’s Faculty of Engineering. “So we can only assume they come from imported products and historical use.”
Finding out which products, and how chemicals from these products end up in the water cycle, is the next urgent step, he says. The study found PFAS concentrations in the areas monitored were low in comparison to those reported overseas. But researcher Dr Melanie Kah, from the Faculty of Science, points out it is not yet understood what level of PFAS is safe.
“There is still so much that is unknown,” says Dr Kah. “Guidelines for safe levels are not available for all PFAS, and the guidelines we do have are being revised constantly as more ecotoxicological and health data becomes available.”
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