If 2018 was the year where we really saw the lid blown off the lead contamination issue facing America’s water supply, 2019 so far seems to be the year where PFAS water contamination continues to come to the forefront. Along with this recent article from The Washington Post, a number of news outlets from Wisconsin to Florida are reporting on problems related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), affecting drinking water.
Here are a few of the latest new stories on PFAS water contamination from across the nation:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported on groundwater contamination in Georgia from firefighting foam used at three Air Force bases. The article notes: “PFAS have been dubbed ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not break down naturally over time in the environment. Instead, they accumulate in living tissue, making their way up the food chain from water to plants to animals to people.”
The Miami Herald published a story in early January about three sites in Florida testing for water contamination from PFOS and PFOA chemicals. Perhaps more troubling, the articles reports that state health officials took four months to notify impacted individuals of the potential contamination. The article says of the chemicals: “…impacts in humans include high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, adverse reproductive and developmental effects and some types of cancer.”
The Wisconsin State Journal reported tests had revealed “a slight increase” in PFAS levels in Madison, Wisconsin, drinking water—though the levels still remain below federal minimal risk levels. The articles states: “Evidence has mounted since the 1990s linking PFAS to cancer and other serious health problems including diseases of the liver, kidneys, glands and immune system.”