United States Have Toxic “Forever Chemicals”
According to a study, large portions of the population in America reside in locations that are poisoned with hazardous “forever chemicals.” With hotspots in every state, the hazardous compounds are reportedly present in more than 57,000 neighborhoods across the US. They are mainly found around commercial buildings, sewage treatment facilities, military posts, and busy airports.
Grease, water, stains, and heat are all repelled by the class of synthetic compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They are utilized to create countless common objects, like frying pans, carpets, and food packaging. Because they do not disintegrate in the environment and can take years to break down in the body, poisons are known as “forever chemicals.”
They have been connected to infertility, birth problems, and cancer. Despite the fact that there are over 57,000 presumed contaminated locations, according to Dr. Phil Brown, head of Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute and co-author of the study, “this is very certainly a significant understatement.”
According to a study, large portions of the population in America reside in locations that are poisoned with hazardous “forever chemicals.” More than 57,000 neighborhoods in the country are suspected to contain the hazardous compounds, with hotspots in every state.
What DO “forever chemicals” MEAN?
A group of typical industrial compounds known as “forever chemicals” don’t degrade when introduced into the environment. These substances are inhaled by people after they have come into contact with food, soil, or water sources. Cookware, carpets, fabrics, and other things are treated with these chemicals, also referred to as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to make them more stain- and water-resistant.
Water near manufacturing companies, military bases, and firefighting training facilities that employ flame-retardant foam has all been shown to be contaminated with PFAS.
The substances have been associated with a higher risk of kidney and testicular cancer, immune system impairment, birth abnormalities, lower birth weights, and a reduced ability of children to respond to vaccinations. All 57,000 US sites’ samples were not tested in full by the researchers. Their estimations were based on a computer model that used precise coordinates to extrapolate the results from earlier testing at proven contaminated sites to the rest of the nation.
They used the model to 500 locations where they knew there had been confirmed PFAS contamination to see if it was correct. 72% of the sites were picked up by the program using their method, which prompted the researchers to assume they Testing for PFAS is critical to assess the extent of PFAS pollution globally and to protect public health in particular places, according to Dr. Alissa Cordner, co-director of the PFAS Project Lab and senior author of the paper.
Testing for PFAS can be expensive, there are presently no federal regulated standards for PFAS in drinking water, and cleanup can be very expensive. As a result, it’s not always clear what action should be taken when PFAS are identified. However, as PFAS appears to be harmful at incredibly low exposure levels, further research must be done to determine the areas where PFAS contamination poses a concern to human health.
Environmental Science & Technology Letters published the findings.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reduced the recommended limit of PFOS in drinking water from 70 parts per trillion to 0.02 parts per trillion in June, demonstrating that there is no safe level of exposure to the toxin.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two PFAS, were proposed as hazardous compounds under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), often known as Superfund, by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.
As a result, there would be more transparency on the release of dangerous substances, and polluters would be held accountable for cleaning up their contamination. In 2020, there were at least 180 PFAS-related proposals that were debated by state legislatures. In addition, at least 15 states passed at least 27 measures that set limits for PFAS in drinking water and regulate its use in consumer products like firefighting foam.
California, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin were among those mentioned.