7.5 million Californians are drinking water contaminated with highly toxic & # 39; forever chemicals & # 39 ;, finds study
- PFAS are highly toxic chemicals that are used to make products oil or water resistant
- Examples are non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabric
- They have the nickname & # 39; forever chemicals & # 39; received because they never break
- PFAS enter the groundwater and can accumulate in the human body, so that even trace amounts can increase our risk of cancer, reproductive problems and more
- Environmental Working Group found levels above federal limits in California drinking water for 7.5 million people
Water consumed by 7.5 million Californians is contaminated with PFA & # 39; s, highly toxic chemicals that increase the risk of cancer and never degrade in the environment.
The toxins are used to make water and oil repellent products, easily migrate to soil and water – and then stay there forever.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a limit of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) PFAS in drinking water to reduce the risk of causing cancer, reproductive problems and immune system disorders.
A new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study of water systems in 74 communities in California found that at least one 40 percent sample of those systems exceeded the proposed EPA limit – and even that, says EWG, is too high.
An employee of the water treatment plant in California examines a reservoir. Even a treatment will not lose PFAS, toxic chemicals found at potentially dangerous levels in water for 74 Californian communities, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (file)
The areas with the highest levels of PFAS were the Marine Corps base of Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, and water systems serving Corona, Oroville, Sacramento, and Rosemont.
At least one sample from each of these systems had between 400 and 820 ppt, with Camp Pendleton sample testing at the highest end of that range.
Today, California is considering setting its own safety limits for PFAS, at levels lower than the EPA's recommendation – which is unenforceable.
But in 2013, the national agency was worried about these persistent toxins and ordered national water sampling.
After that sampling, the EPA advised that water with more than 70 ppt PFAS could increase health risks.
These man-made substances have such strong chemical bonds that they cannot be broken down in nature.
Scientists do not know exactly how these super strong chemicals affect human health.
But animal studies and looking at diseases and human exposure suggest a fairly robust link between kidney cancer, thyroid disease and other health problems.
They can also disrupt the development of babies whose mothers drink contaminated water during pregnancy.
They seem to be quite toxic, even at very low levels, we just don't know why at the cellular level.
But in recent years, the federal government has spent more on the study of PFAS and California has taken matters into its own hands
The EWG also remains concerned about PFAS. It has remained critical with regard to the EPA advice, both for allowing levels of the chemicals that the group considers too high, and for giving advice instead of a hard limit.
So the EWG tested samples from the 74 water systems from 2013 that last until this year.
It quotes other studies recommending that no level of around 1 ppt of PFAS is safe, and urges the EPA to take a stronger position to limit potentially harmful chemicals, even attempting to challenge President Trump.
& # 39; The congress is being stepped up because President Trump's environmental protection agency and the Department of Defense have refused to act & # 39 ;, wrote the report authors.
& # 39; Earlier this year, the Trump government issued a PFAS & # 39; Action Plan & # 39; before it was too weak and toothless to tackle the growing contagion crisis. & # 39;
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