PFAS are not regulated and utilities that have chosen to test independently are not required to make results public.
While PFAS compounds are found in dozens of products, Rediske said the prevalence of the most toxic of the known PFAS compounds in drinking water are there as a result of the use of flame-retardant foams - particularly those used to put out aviation fires. Because PFAS are carried around in our blood and aren't discarded, they naturally concentrate over time.
A 2017 review found that they negatively impact the body's cardiometabolic, renaland immune systems, and also delay the onset of puberty in boys and girls. "However, we still need much evidence to substantiate or to establish the effects of PFAS on human health", especially examining these chemicals in relation to risks of chronic conditions among people who initially are free of disease, Sun pointed out. Ruffalo put the blame on manufacturers such as DuPont.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals that have been used in several industries around the world since the 1940s.
"Most pollutants stick to sediment or dissolve in oils, but because PFAS are water soluble, they spread out and travel great distances", Rick Rediske, professor at the Annis Water Resources Institute in MI, told UPI. A recent report by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet found half of all water systems tested in Kentucky had PFAS contamination. The group thinks the limit should be as low as 1 ppt. Earlier efforts also weren't able to identify PFAS compounds at very low levels. The findings from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) show that hundreds of millions of Americans are affected by the contamination. The EWG report says water tested there showed 109.8 ppt of PFAS. Only Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had PFAS levels below 1 part per trillion, the limit advocated by EWG.
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Researchers sampled drinking water at more than 40 locations in 31 states between May and December of 2019.
"We understand this is an emerging national, global and regional issue", said Anderson. "Secondly, because we found some types of PFAS that have not been found in drinking water before, we know that this contamination problem is not only affecting more people but has a wider range of contaminants that we need to be anxious about", said Cook. "It's unclear what practices the EWG took to adhere to those same scientific methods". That's because even though the chemicals were detectable in each sample, they fell below the "limit of qualification".
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer advocacy nonprofit, says it found per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in the water supply in dozens of major USA cities.
"There are no federal limitations on their use, on their discharge or on their presence in drinking water", Evans said. "Advances in analytical methodologies allow us to detect concentrations in the parts-per-trillion (ppt) magnitude - the equivalent of a single grain of sand in an Olympic-sized swimming pool". Most of these aren't well studied, so their potential toxicities aren't understood.