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Drinking Water for 15 Million Americans Is Contaminated With A Toxic Chemical

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BY SUSAN JOHNES

According to the analysis released by Environmental Working Group and Scientist at North Eastern University, approximately 15 million Americans across 27 states are drinking water that could be contaminated with carcinogenic human-made chemicals known as perfluorochemicals PFCs.

In the recent Environmental Protection Agency testing, a class of chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAS) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were detected in 162 U.S. drinking water systems.

The toxic chemicals have been used over the years in a wide range of consumer products including nonstick cookware, cleaning products, and waterproof clothing. It has been linked to some health concerns including cancer, developmental issues, and a weakened immune system.

Even though manufacturers have claimed the dangerous PFCs are no longer used in these products, Bill Walker pointed out that PFCs have proven so ubiquitous in many products over time.

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 98 percent of Americans have at least some PFCs in their blood.

Walker told HuffPost that there’d been significant evidence indicating that the chemicals we don’t want in our drinking water might be having a human health impact at low concentrations.

EPA rule mandates that all U.S. water systems serving more than 10,000 customers should test for such unregulated contaminants. One calculation released in 2015 by the EPA put the estimated safe level of PFC concentration in drinking water at 1 ppt.

Concerns over the chemicals have prompted some states, like Minnesota and Vermont, to take action by setting lower state-level limits, as low as 20 ppt for the substances. The analysis released also points to more than 47 sites of known or suspected PFC contamination across the U.S.

Among the sites covered by the Northeastern University researchers are 21 military bases, 20 industrial facilities, and seven civilian firefighting locations.

For the moment, the problem appears unlikely to reduce given the Trump administration’s push to downsize the EPA and slash regulations deemed burdensome to the industry that further federal action on PFCs will be coming anytime soon.

Walker argues that the United State needs a federal standard where rights and protections given to people don’t cross the line to another.

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