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Hmm, so how much is this?

Analysis of samples of AGC’s effluent revealed levels of PFOA as high as 12,000 nanograms a litre in 2021.

What in buggery is a nanogram?

(NA-noh-gram) A measure of weight. One nanogram weighs a billion times less than one gram, and almost a trillion-times less than a pound.

A billion of a gram, or a trillionth of a kg therefore. A litre of water is a kg.

12,000 parts per trillion. Or 12 parts per billion.

Until perhaps 20 years ago we very rarely ever measured anything in lower concentrations than parts per million – ppm. Now here the squinnying is about 12 ppb?

Hmm, it might just be that greater possibility of measurement that’s the issue here, no? N0ot necessarily so, but we’d certainly want to consider it as the issue, no?

but the EU is considering imposing standards of 4.4ng/l of PFOA equivalents

4.4 ppt? Really?

He added: “More appropriate research and funding is desperately required

Nope, didn’t see that coming.

Even as this might be true:

PFOA, one of the most-studied substances in the group, has been strongly linked to a wide range of diseases, including testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease, hypertension and ulcerative colitis. It has also been linked to high cholesterol, low birth weight, reduced immune function and developmental problems.

Yes, but at what concentrations? Paracelsus Dear Boy, Paracelsus.

15 thoughts on “Hmm, so how much is this?”

  1. Also note the ‘weasel’ words in your last paragraph: ‘linked’ and ‘strongly linked’ both imply simple correlation but without any evidence of underlying causation.

    Also 12,000 ng/l is so much bigger and more threatening than 12 ug/l and expressed as 0.01ppm no one would even notice.

  2. I can’t remember what it was but someone was telling me once that ‘some environmental thing’ was bad for me and would kill me. I said to her “Tell it to join the fucking queue behind the booze and smokes”.

    Seriously, people worry about these things?

  3. Linear response, no-threshold = We all need to live in sterile clean rooms. Own nothing. Be happy betas.
    Have they read Brave New World as an instruction manual?

  4. He added: “More appropriate research and funding is desperately required

    Desperately needed funding to measure picograms/litre concentrations. Soon we’ll be able to measure things that aren’t even there.

    This is the new homeopathy.

  5. Seriously, people worry about these things?

    That’s because people haven’t got anything to actually worry about.
    When WWIII breaks out (coming to Moldova soon!) and we’re all worried about whether a cruise missile is going to land on our heads, people will stop worrying about Ng/l of whatever and anyone trying to stoke that nonsense will be told where to go forthwith.
    That’s if we don’t all just disappear into the great mushroom in the sky.

  6. In questions we can answer, that 12 per billion is w/w which is not how you scientifically express things regarding concentration. You use molarity, which tells you the amount of actual molecules present in a given amount of stuff.

    For the concentration of PFOA found, that would mean a molarity of 5.2^-10 = 0.5 ppb (520 ppt), which is 876 molecules per liter water at room temperature.
    While being well into the realm of Homeopathy there, there are substances that have a biological effect at those concentrations. With the caveat that you’re talking hormone/receptor interactions here, which are specifically designed/evolved to be that sensitive.

    Given that PFOA can at best be an unintended substitute for a short-chain fatty acid in biological processes, where it might disrupt things further up the line, its actual risk is not non-existent.
    But the list of natural substances that can do that is long, and includes…. well… about every type of food that contains fat or oil.. Not exactly something to worry about.

    Alternatively, my widdle cloggie town has a DuPont factory that pushes out a significant fraction of the world production of teflon, and which has been …less than stellar… in the local pollution prevention category for..decades.
    As a result, about a 10 mile radius around it has been Contaminated with PFOA and PFAS at levels between 10.000 and 100.000 times higher than reported in this article.
    So for decades people have been plot-farming in contaminated soil and stuff, and we’re not allowed to move any soil there anymore and treat is as radioactive waste and stuff, let alone eat whatever is grown in the backyards.
    And while the people living in them parts are ..typical… I doubt that’s much to do with whatever’s in the ground and more about the Family Matters you get from small, extremely religious communities over generations. ( Dutch Bible Belt crosses the river where I live…)
    The white-tailed eagles , beavers and other critters living in the Biesbosch right next to said factory also don’t really seem to care. They thrive to the point where management is starting to try and find ways to get them to move Somewhere Else to prevent overpopulation..
    So yeah…. YMMV as to how dangerous the stuff actually is..

  7. Oh, John Galt.. You might want to look up Celestine..

    As is, about 0.1% of your body runs on strontium where calcium was supposed to be used.
    Mind.. any fallout will have the wrong kind of strontium, same as it’s nowadays perfectly possible to make gold from lead. Both will kill you..

  8. Bjørn Lomborg, in his Skeptical Environmentalist (1998), has a handy table of the cost of ‘cleaning’ various polluting products versus the number of lives saved. IIRC top was removing benzene from US tyre manufacturing, which ended up costing $2 billion per life saved. I wonder what the equivalent number would be for PFOA?

  9. The other thing is, that this stuff should never have left the Tubes…

    I can, as a biologist, agree with the “insane” EU norm.
    Not because the stuff is particularly dangerous, but because it’s a good and easily tested-for indicator for How Much Of The Fucking Up a plant, or the industry in general does.

    If you treat is as that…. welllll… Not a pretty picture.
    And you don’t need to be a Greenie to see that..

  10. What idiots think what you can't see can hurt you, amirite?

    《at what concentrations?》

    How many innocent animals were subjected to how high concentrations?

  11. Well Grikath, I’ve always assumed that’s why my favourite toothpaste vanished. It had strontium in it.

    The new type tastes vile. It has potassium instead.

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