The Environmental Working Group Find That Levels of PFAs in Water Are Higher Than They Initially Thought

Scientists have found 42,000 sources of toxic chemicals in drinking water all over the U.S. The scientists who are from the U.S Environmental Working Group (EWG) assessed data on the polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) substances from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

While PFAs are chemicals in everyday household items, they cannot break down, thus causing harm to the environment. For this reason, the EWG wants the EPA to help lower these chemicals and thus reduce contamination.

EWG believes the EPA should take more measures to lower PFA contamination 

In their report, the EWG mentions the water sources that face the highest risk of contamination from PFAs. Such areas are near metal finishers, electroplating sites, petroleum refineries, airports, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills.

Although the EPA had already suggested regulating the amount of PFAs dumped into drinking water sources, the EWG argues that this is not enough. The EWG adds that officials should take more measures to reduce pollution by these facilities. Furthermore, the EWG points out that the tap water in Northern Virginia is much higher than initially reported by previous studies, including those done by the EPA and EWG.

According to EWG findings, the highest contamination was in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New Orleans, and Miami.

PFA levels over one are not safe for drinking. However, the scientists found that Pendleton, a Marine Base Camp near San Diego, had PFA levels of 400 and 820 parts per trillion (ppt).

How PFAs affect human health

As many new PFAs are contaminating water sources, the group recommends extensive testing of facilities in the country.

PFAs don’t just contaminate water sources. They also contaminate personal care products, food packaging, and food. Scientists believe that these substances are in every human being. They are also in the blood of newborns.

PFAs have a detrimental effect on the body. They increase cholesterol and the risk of cancer. They also suppress immunity and harm development and reproduction. Although reducing PFA contamination is challenging, it is still possible. Scientists can use surface and drinking water tests together with wastewater tests.

Scott Faber, the senior vice president of government affairs at EWG, states that PFA discharge by industries should be limited, and the chemicals already in the environment cleaned up.

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