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article imageAre Americans at risk from unsafe drinking water?

By Tim Sandle     Aug 12, 2016 in Health
Washington - The drinking water supplied to over six million people in the U.S. could be unsafe, according to new research. This is based on a review of chemicals present in the water.
The new survey, conducted by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, relates to levels of industrial chemicals found in samples of drinking water. The chemicals of concern have been connected with cancer.
The survey indicated the presence of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (synonyms include “fluorochemicals” and “fluorinated chemicals") at levels above the recommended safety levels for public drinking water, as set by the U.S. government (which is at 70 parts per trillion.) The chemicals were widely used over a 60 year period as additives to many products including food wrappers to clothing to pots and pans. Residues from the chemicals seeped into the environment and entered pockets of natural water.
For the research, scientists examined six types of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water supplies. For this they took 36,000 water samples throughout the U.S. between 2013 and 2015. At the same time, notes were made about the proximity of water supplies to industrial outlets and factories. It was found that polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances were detected in 194 out of 4,864 water supplies in 33 states. Some states were classed as being at a higher risk than others; those in the top set, in order of detection, were: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts and Illinois. Within these states, rates were highest closest to industrialized areas.
In a statement, lead researcher Xindi Hu commented: "For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences."
Hu went on to explain the consequences: "In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population — about 100 million people."
The data suggests that swift action is needed.
LyShawn Allen (@DeLunaVintage) "How safe is Americas Drinking Water and What role does Fracking play? #PFAS in the water."
Water News Global (@WaterTrends) "WATER CONFIDENCE: 6 million Americans have unsafe levels of toxic chemicals in their #DrinkingWater - #PFAS ."
The research has been punished in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. The research paper is: "Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants."
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