A new study from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group studying tap water.
Unsafe Levels of Lead and PFAs Reported in US Water Supply
As detailed in The Hill, the Environmental Working Group created a Tap Water Database by collecting samples from every state over a five-year span from 2014-2019. Through this study, the EWG found potentially dangerous levels of lead and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the country’s water supply, with “2,854 locations in all 50 states and two territories known to have a contaminated water supply.”
Additionally, the Government Accountability Office has discovered “almost 70,000 water bodies across the country that did not meet water quality standards.”
What Are PFAS & Why You Should Be Concerned
PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are made of linked chains of carbon and fluorine, and that bond doesn’t degrade easily. This is why PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
PFAS have been widely used for decades, since they repel oil and water. This means you can find them in waterproof clothing, nonstick cookware, takeout containers, microwave popcorn, and so many other common items.
According to WBUR, we can be exposed to PFAS through the products we use, the food we eat, and especially, through the water we drink. PFAS have been linked to high cholesterol, thyroid issues, liver and kidney damage, and more.
Unfortunately, there are currently no federal guidelines for the level of PFAS allowed in drinking water, although the EPA has announced plans to potentially regulate these chemicals by 2024.