"Forever chemicals" found in Iowa QC drinking water

Study Brunswick County tops national list for PFAS contamination

Study Brunswick County tops national list for PFAS contamination

Chemicals in the PFAS family, some of which have been linked to a range of negative health effects, have been found in drinking water in dozens of US cities, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental research and advocacy group.

A disturbing new report has found that Americans are more widely exposed to synthetic PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals", than previously thought. PFAS levels in water supplies, according to the government, should not be more than 70 parts per trillion.

PFAS compounds remain in food packaging, cookware and other consumer products.

Some of the highest PFAS levels detected were found in samples from major metropolitan areas, including Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and the northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City. Of those 44 sites, only Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Seattle, Washington showed PFAS rates below the safe limit of one part per trillion (PPT).

EWG's work expanded on data from an EPA program that ended in 2015, analyzing water samples using an EPA-approved independent laboratory for a larger set of PFAS compounds.

The chemicals were used in products like Teflon and Scotchguard and in firefighting foam.

She's alarmed by the finding.

Researchers are not sure what specific health effects a person might experience as a result of drinking water that contains a combination of different PFAS, partly because there are almost 5,000 different chemicals in the PFAS family, and only a handful of them have been studied, PBS NewsHour reported.

Since PFAS aren't regulated, in 34 of the places where the water tested high for levels of PFAS, neither the EPA nor a state environmental agency had reported the contamination, the report said.

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Aga, who is unaffiliated with the study, explained that most research into PFAS' effects are just associations, making it hard to establish stricter regulation at a broader level.

The US government's environmental agency, the EPA, has known about the contamination for nearly 20 years, but there is still no nationwide legal limit for PFAS. "However, we still need much evidence to substantiate or to establish the effects of PFAS on human health", especially examining these chemicals in relation to risks of chronic conditions among people who initially are free of disease, Sun pointed out. Brunswick County Public Utilities has been working diligently with engineers at CDM-Smith and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to design, permit and build an economical low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the plant for the benefit of all Brunswick County water users.

Five states - Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey and Vermont - have established maximum contaminant levels, while six others, including Washington, California and NY, have proposed regulations.

Instead, the EPA offers guidelines for state and local agencies that are meant to serve as a sort of gauge.

In 2018 a draft report from an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the risk level for exposure to the chemicals should be up to 10 times lower than the 70 PPT threshold the EPA recommends.

"For a while, there was no acceptable method (to detect PFAS), and it's still limited", Aga said.

The CDC report PFAS is found within the entire USA population. The White House and the EPA had tried to stop the report from being published.

"The more we learn, the lower these safety limits tend to go", EWG President Cook told reporters.

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