Level of Stain Resist Chemicals in Drinking Water Exceed EPA Health Advisory Throughout United States
Six million people in the United States are at risk because “teflon” chemicals have been detected in public drinking water at unsafe levels throughout the country. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its related perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), commonly referred to as ‘teflon’ chemicals are added to materials to increase grease and water resistance. Unfortunately, evidence that they can harm health and damage the environment is increasing. The new report estimating that millions of Americans are exposed at levels of concern is particularly troubling in this light.
A team of researchers used geospatial analysis to identify areas where contamination was most likely. The researchers found a strong correlation between elevated contaminant levels and proximity to areas such as military bases, areas where firefighting foam is used, and industrial areas that use or manufacture these compounds. A total of six million Americans were identified as being at risk, with another 44.5 million individuals relying on well water and 52 million served by smaller drinking water systems that are not often sampled. This is particularly concerning given that studies have found contaminated groundwater adjacent to airports using firefighting foam
In May 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency set a health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion. This action came in response to growing research connecting these chemical to negative impacts on the developmental, immune, metabolic, and endocrine systems. It is notable that while a health advisory is based on scientific evidence and takes into consideration the health of the most vulnerable populations, it is not enforceable and serves as technical advice only for those who handle water quality.
[Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail]