UK's safe level for tap water too high - scientists

March 18, 2022

Read the full article by Leana Hosea and Rachel Salvidge (BBC News)

"Scientists are concerned that the allowable levels of toxic PFAS - known as "forever chemicals" - in UK drinking water are too high.

A BBC study found PFAS levels exceeded European safety levels in almost half of the samples taken. However, none exceeded the current UK safety level.

The chemicals are in many products such as non-stick pans, food packaging, carpets, furniture, firefighting foam.

They have been linked to a range of diseases, including cancer.

Guidelines from the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate state drinking water must contain PFAS chemicals at no more than 100 nanograms per litre (ng/l). Above that, action must be taken to reduce levels.

Working with Greenwich University, the BBC took 45 tap water samples. Laboratory analysis found that none exceeded the 100ng/l level.

But 25 samples did contain PFASs, and four had levels that exceeded 10ng/l, which, under the current guidelines, means local healthcare professionals must be consulted, and levels monitored.

And almost half of the samples exceeded the European Food Standards Agency tolerable limit of 2.2ng/l."