On Dangerous Ground: How Some Canadian Land Is Toxic And How To Fix It

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PFOS, or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, is a chemical agent that was used for a very long time in paints, varnishes, stain removers and fabric protectants. Whenever brushes or cleaning tanks and pails were emptied, some of the PFOS seeped into Canada's groundwater.  These agents are lethal to animals and people if the amounts in blood serum are high enough. If you have bought some land in a rural area of the country, you should have both your soil and your water tested. Then do the following to protect yourself and any animals you raise on the property.

Parts Per Million

Your water testing agent examines your water not only for PFOS, but for other potentially harmful ingredients as well. The report will read "x" parts per million, or ppm. The ppm designates the level at which a chemical is toxic to humans and animals and could cause cancer, chronic kidney disease or other lethal illnesses. Since the Stockholm Convention of 2009, PFOS has been listed as one of the "Persistent Organic Pollutants" worldwide. If the water testing agent detects high levels of PFOS in your soil, well water and/or water entering your home, you, your family, your pets and even any farm animals you have could all be at risk.

Treat the Water

There are companies that specialize in water treatment options for homes that have tested positive for PFOS. These treatments process out most, if not all of the PFOS present in your well water and water entering your home. Several separate filtering tanks are installed to process the water and remove the pollutants effectively. Ask your water testing agent who in the area provides these services so that you may contact them to get your water purified. 

Dealing with the Ground

Unfortunately there is not much you can do for soil contamination. If you want to grow a vegetable garden, consider building box gardens so that the soil you use is store-bought. If you raise livestock on your land, feed them hay or grain you have purchased from uncontaminated farmlands. (Do not let them graze on the grass that is present, since the PFOS will be present in whatever grows from the contaminated soil.) You may plant flowers, trees and bushes, but be careful about handling the soil and/or breathing it. Companies are trying to create a product that will neutralize PFOS, but for now, you will have to treat the water and soil according to these guidelines by contacting a company like PFOS-PFOA Treatment LLC.

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