PFAS includes a family of synthetic chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, used in a variety of consumer products and industrial processes. Many call PFAS the “forever chemical” because it persists in the environment. While these chemicals are highly useful, studies link PFAS to a number of health and environmental risks. A review of certain statistics highlight the prevalence of PFAS in the environment:
- Testing detected PFAS in drinking water sources in at least 49 countries.
- In the United States, testing showed more than 1,500 drinking water sources contaminated with PFAS.
- Testing detected PFAS in surface water, groundwater, and soils in many parts of the world.
- PFAS travels long distances
- PFAS accumulates in aquatic organisms and wildlife.
CDC Studies Community Drinking Water
CDC scientists selected several communities to study the nature and extent of PFAS contamination. The study found that the residents in these communities had high levels of PFAS in their blood. Moreover, the study associated these blood levels with consuming contaminated drinking water. The study identifies the key takeaways:
- High PFOS and PFOA blood levels.
- Elevated blood levels may result from past drinking water contamination.
- All tap water samples collected were below EPA’s 2016 health advisory and state public health guidelines for PFAS in drinking water.
- Two tap water samples contained concentrations above ATSDR’s environmental media evaluation guide (EMEG) for PFOS in drinking water.
Associations between Health Risks and Exposure to PFAS
Scientists associate PFAS exposure with multiple health outcomes. PFAS exposure is associated with multiple health outcomes including:
Drinking water remains a prevalent route of exposure for PFAS. However, scientists point out that airborne dust, food packaging, and cookware all remain relevant to this day.
The law allows public water providers to file civil lawsuits to recover damages, including filtration costs, associated with contamination of the their drinking water supplies. In fact, many communities filed civil actions against the manufacturers and suppliers of PFAS related products. The defendants have settled many related lawsuits already. However, communities seeking recovery of their damages through the legal process need to hire a lawyer experience with these legal actions.