Unsafe Sipping: Widespread Drinking Water Contamination Found
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found contamination of U.S. drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” to be much worse than estimated. Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans have some of the highest levels. Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are resistant to breaking down in the environment and some have been linked to cancer, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems. David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report, says, “It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals.” Sources include products like Teflon, Scotchguard and firefighting foam. Only one location in the country, Meridian, Mississippi, which has 700-foot-deep wells, had no detectable PFAS, while Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had levels below 1 part per trillion, the limit EWG recommends. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has known since at least 2001 about the problem of PFAS in drinking water, but has so far failed to set an enforceable, nationwide legal limit.