One of the most dangerous and persistent threats to our nation’s waters is the group of emerging contaminants known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. (You may have seen John Oliver talking about them recently!) PFAS are often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ due to the fact that some can take thousands of years to break down. Unfortunately, PFAS are very stable in water meaning once they get into a waterbody or groundwater, they remain there for a very long time.
These colorless, tasteless chemicals have been linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes, including cancer. Despite the obvious danger and prevalence of these emerging contaminants, they are mostly unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And that needs to change!
EPA announced recently they will consider setting discharge limits on PFAS, which means this is our opportunity to insist on common sense requirements.
Unfortunately, PFAS are ubiquitous. They are found in a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, firefighting foam, stain-resistant clothing, and even dental floss. As a result, PFAS are also found in our environment, specifically in our water, where even a small spill can contaminate an aquifer and endanger a drinking supply for generations. This helps explain why approximately 110 million Americans have PFAS in their drinking water.
According to a recent study, a staggering 97 perent of human blood samples were found to contain PFAS, which is especially troubling given how detrimental these chemicals are to human health.
And yet these very dangerous, ‘forever chemicals’ remain mostly unregulated.
That is why we must demand that EPA impose the most stringent limitations possible on PFAS discharges to waters across our country. No amount is safe. We must stop discharging these contaminants into our environment where they will continue to do great harm to public health and our environment for a very long time.
For far too long, these chemicals have endangered our communities. Though manufacturers, industries, and the previous administration tried to suppress the truth, we know the damage these chemicals can cause. We have the chance to urge EPA to ban their discharge. The time to act is now!
Your supportive action can help encourage EPA to strengthen clean water safeguards for communities across the country. Contact EPA Administrator Regan today in support of these urgently needed updates.
You can find out whether PFAS have been detected in your drinking water and reported to EPA here!