Taking a sip of refreshing California tap water might come with new concerns, according to a recent study performed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Scientists from the USGS tested tap water from kitchen faucets across the nation.
The scientists sampled water from over 700 U.S. locations, testing each sample for 32 different types of PFAS compounds. PFAS (which stands for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) are known as “forever chemicals.”
These synthetic chemicals are called “forever chemicals” because they break down very slowly. PFAS accumulate in the soil and in the water supply, posing human health and environmental risks.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS compounds have been researched over the years in various peer-reviewed scientific studies.
The results of these studies show that PFAS exposure may lead to developmental delays in children, decreased fertility, increased risk of certain cancers, reduced ability to fight infections, and increased risk of obesity.
California water among most contaminated in nation with “forever chemicals”
The USGS water study showed that an estimated 45 percent of U.S. tap water contains one or more PFAS chemicals. While there are over 12,000 kinds of PFAS, the study only tested for the presence of 32 PFAS chemicals.
The USGS tested both private water supplies and government-regulated public water sources. This video from KTLA 5 highlights some of the study’s findings:
PFAS can get into the water supply through landfills and hazardous waste sites. Manufacturers and chemical facilities use and produce PFAS, which can be found in a wide variety of products.
This includes fire extinguishing foam, chrome plating, paper manufacturing, electronics, food packaging, fertilizers, and household cleaning products.
Not surprisingly, the highest concentrations of PFAS were found near urban areas compared to lower exposure in rural areas. The USGS study revealed the following:
“Most of the exposure was observed near urban areas and potential PFAS sources. This included the Great Plains, Great Lakes, Eastern Seaboard, and Central/Southern California regions. The study’s results are in line with previous research concluding that people in urban areas have a higher likelihood of PFAS exposure. USGS scientists estimate that the probability of PFAS not being observed in tap water is about 75% in rural areas and around 25% in urban areas.”
Are you concerned about the quality of water in your community?
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