America’s Drinking Water Highly Contaminated With Deadly PFAS

( Numerous sources of drinking water in the United States are contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals, according to an analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group. A map developed by the group shows widespread PFAS contamination in drinking water sources all across the US.

The data for the contamination map is current through May 21. The map shows PFAS-contaminated drinking water sources in nearly every state, although contamination appears highest in the eastern US and on the West Coast.

PFAS, which include thousands of different man-made substances, can enter drinking water systems by seeping into soil and water sources during their lengthy breakdown phases. PFAS are found in products including food wrappers, clothing, and cookware. PFAS are linked to health problems including cancer, liver and heart damage, and developmental issues in children.

In February 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to amend regulations to classify multiple PFAS compounds as hazardous. The EPA will work with state co-regulators to strengthen their ability to address PFAS contamination and hold polluters accountable, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

The proposal is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants, Regan said. The move will help deliver on US President Joe Biden’s agenda to protect public health and advance environmental justice, according to the EPA.

Additionally, in April 2024, the White House unveiled $1 billion in funding to help states and territories address PFAS contamination. The funds can be used for PFAS detection and treatment systems.

The White House also announced the first-ever drinking water standard for PFAS. The legally enforceable standard will protect 100 million people from PFAS exposure and prevent tens of thousands of serious illnesses, the White House said.

Such actions could ultimately help reduce the volume of PFAS in Americans’ drinking water, although the “forever chemicals” are dubbed as such for their long-lasting nature.

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