New Study Shows America's Tap Water Is Contaminated
According to a study by Environmental Working Group claims that PFAS levels are far higher levels than recommended. PFAS or forever chemicals are linked to cancer. The study found that of the 40 plus test sites in 34 states most were far over the recommended 1 part per trillion.
"PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because once released into the environment they do not break down, and they build up in our blood and organs. Exposure to PFAS increases the risk of cancer, harms the development of the fetus and reduces the effectiveness of vaccines. Biomonitoring studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the blood of nearly all Americans is contaminated with PFAS.
The most notorious PFAS compounds are PFOA, formerly used by DuPont to make Teflon, and PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard. Those compounds have been phased out under pressure from the EPA, but they persist in drinking water, people and the environment. In EWG’s tests, PFOA was detected in 30 of 44 samples, and PFOS in 34 samples. The two compounds represented approximately a quarter of the total PFAS level in each sample."
"New laboratory tests commissioned by EWG have for the first time found the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas. The results confirm that the number of Americans exposed to PFAS from contaminated tap water has been dramatically underestimated by previous studies, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and EWG’s own research.
Based on our tests and new academic research that found PFAS widespread in rainwater, EWG scientists now believe PFAS is likely detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S., almost certainly in all that use surface water. EWG’s tests also found chemicals from the PFAS family that are not commonly tested for in drinking water.
Of tap water samples from 44 places in 31 states and the District of Columbia, only one location had no detectable PFAS, and only two other locations had PFAS below the level that independent studies show pose risks to human health. Some of the highest PFAS levels detected were in samples from major metropolitan areas, including Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City.
In 34 places where EWG’s tests found PFAS, contamination has not been publicly reported by the Environmental Protection Agency or state environmental agencies. Because PFAS are not regulated, utilities that have chosen to test independently are not required to make their results public or report them to state drinking water agencies or the EPA."
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"Current options for drinking water treatment technologies to remove PFAS include granular activated carbon, ion exchange and reverse osmosis. Of these, granular activated carbon, or GAC, is the most common, with many water treatment facilities already using it to remove other contaminants. The design of the GAC filter and how often the carbon is exchanged can affect performance significantly. Some of the systems tested already use GAC filters, including those serving Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Quad Cities, in Iowa. Reverse osmosis is the most effective technology, but it is also the most expensive. Ion exchange is a newer technology for PFAS removal, with a limited number of current installations."
The EPA recommends no more than 70 parts per trillion but the Environmental Working Group has a higher standard and believes we should have no more than one part per trillion. So in most areas, the EPA would consider the water fine but in the EWG's tests they did find metropolitan areas with unsafe levels.