14 de agosto de 2016

Millions Of Americans May Be Drinking Toxic Water, Harvard Study Finds

Hoosick Falls residents hold signs during a news conference at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y., calling for hearings on the state’s handling of PFOA contamination in drinking water in their town. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MIKE GROLL
The drinking water of some six million people across the country may have elevated levels of unregulated toxic chemicals widely used in the past in many household products — notably pans coated with Teflon — a Harvard-led study published Tuesday found.
Resistant to heat, water, and oil, perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that have been used for decades to coat fabric or food packaging, and to manufacture fire-fighting foams and Teflon pans. Now mostly phased out in the U.S., PFAS went unregulated and were often disposed in watersheds. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and have beenlinked to adverse health effects in animals, according to the EPA. In humans, PFAS have been linked to a wide range of illnesses, including birth defects,cancer, and immune system dysfunction, according to multiple studies.
“These compounds have been used for over 60 years and it is only in the most recent years that we’ve began to understand how serious this pollution is, and how toxic [PFAS] are,” Philippe Grandjean, co-author and adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard University, told ThinkProgress.
According to the study published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 75 percent of public water systems that exceeded PFAS federally recommended safety levels (updated this year) were found in 13 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. While PFAS are largely on their way out, the substitutes are at times chemically related and could still be toxic, recent studies have found.
National sampling of PFASs and some related chemicals like PFOAs began in 2013, under an EPA program that requires all public water systems serving at least 10,000 people to test for unregulated contaminants. While the EPA uses this assessment to figure out if contamination warrants regulation, the Harvard study used EPA data compiled from 2013 through 2015 to map the link between potential sources of pollution and drinking water contamination.
more in https://thinkprogress.org/