Science

USA drinking water widely contaminated with 'forever chemicals'

USA drinking water widely contaminated with 'forever chemicals'”

EWG didn't provide its testing locations but tests conducted in Miami in July a year ago showed PFAS levels of 56.7 parts per trillion, below the federal advisory level but much higher than EWG's recommended level of 1 ppt.

Detlef Knappe, an environmental engineer with North Carolina State University who was not affiliated with the report, agrees that the study's results suggest more PFAS chemicals are present in water systems than researchers originally thought, and that a larger number of people in the United States are exposed to the chemicals than has been estimated by previous studies.

In the EWG study, 44 tap water samples were collected from May to December 2019 and analyzed by an accredited independent laboratory which used a modified version of EPA Method 537 to detect 30 different PFAS compounds.

Low-pressure reverse osmosis is considered one of the most advanced and effective methods to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated materials from drinking water, including GenX, 1,4-dioxane and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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 USA cities, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental research and advocacy group.

In addition to Miami, cities including Philadelphia, Louisville, New Orleans, and Wilmington were among the other high-populous metro areas containing some of the greatest levels of PFAS chemicals in tap water. The chemicals, better known as PFAS, are found in a wide variety of household and commercial products, including nonstick cookware, cleaning solutions, and fire extinguishers. It must also be phased out in fire departments nationwide by 2024.

She's alarmed by the finding.

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, said the results indicate that it's "nearly impossible" to escape some degree of PFAS contamination in drinking water. In Boston, testing showed PFAS at a level of 8.1 ppt.

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. Florida doesn't have its own standard, and Miami-Dade said it uses the EPA guideline for its yardstick on PFAS contamination. "It's hard to make regulation when there's no direct link". In fact, only the two most polluted locations studied even exceeded 70 PPT: Brunswick County, North Carolina and Quad Cities, Iowa.

A bill that, if passed, would require the EPA to enforce a maximum contaminant level has passed the House is now in committee in the Senate.

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

An EPA spokesperson told USA TODAY that efforts to address PFAS are "active and ongoing", citing an action plan that would take "important steps" in the detecting and cutting down on PFAS.

The CDC report PFAS is found within the entire US population.

A major report has been published by an environmental watchdog agency about the state of the drinking supply in the US.

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



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