If your farm is located near a military base or industrial complex, and you obtain your water from a well, there is a contaminant you need to be aware of: perfluorooctane sulfonate or PFOS. This substance is not found in nature, but it is produced when many different products, from firefighting foams to plastic coatings, are made and used. There is a good chance it is found in your well water, and so it's essential that you choose a well water filter that is specifically designed to filter out PFOS. Why? Well... here's a look at some of the problems PFOS can cause for you and your farm.
If you or your partner plan to become pregnant, you should be aware that exposure to PFOS can cause low birthweight. Babies that are born at lower weights are at an increased risk for many different diseases. You also need to worry about the same effects on any livestock you may be breeding on your farm. Though this has not been extensively studied, it seems likely that if PFOS can cause low birthweight in humans, it could have the same effects in other mammals like sheep, cows, and horses.
PFOS exposure may also increase your risk of various cancers, especially after years of ongoing exposure to the substance. Reproductive cancers, such as testicular and uterine cancer, are of particular concern. Of course, you need to be worried about cancer in your animals, too -- and in farm animals, cancer is typically fatal since the treatments are not as developed and are far too expensive to implement.
Exposure to PFOS, and a similar substance known as PFOA, has been found to disrupt the thyroid gland. The hormones your thyroid makes are responsible for regulating your metabolism, so over or under-production of these hormones can have profound effects on the body from weight gain, to abnormal hair growth, to exhaustion. If your animals also suffer from thyroid conditions, it may take you years and many expensive vet bills to figure out what is going on since the symptoms of thyroid disorders can easily be mistaken for other conditions.
If your farm is on well water, make sure the filter you use is specifically labeled to filter out PFOS. It's far easier and cheaper to treat your water for this contaminant than it is to treat yourself and your animals for the damage it causes. Contact a company, like PFOS-PFOA Treatment LLC, for more help.