"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Nearly half of US drinking water incorporates ‘forever chemicals’: study

July 6, 2023 – A recent government estimate says no less than 45% of tap water within the United States incorporates PFAS, substances also generally known as “forever chemicals.”

It is the primary time that scientists have nationally estimated how common PFAS are in drinking water. PFAS (short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are synthetic chemicals that contaminate the environment through quite a lot of products. They might be present in water, food, soil and air; and long-term exposure causes the chemicals to accumulate within the body over time, which might be harmful, in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

This latest study was conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and published last month within the journal Environment International. The USGS analyzed data from 269 private wells and 447 public water supplies after which used the outcomes to create a national estimate. (The USGS is a government agency that creates maps and analyzes national natural resource data.)

“USGS scientists tested water collected directly from people’s kitchen sinks across the country, conducting the most comprehensive study to date of PFAS in tap water from private wells and public sources,” said study writer and USGS research hydrologist Kelly Smalling, MSPH, in a opinion“The study estimates that at least one type of PFAS – of those monitored – may be present in nearly half of the tap water in the United States. In addition, PFAS concentrations were similar in public water supplies and private wells.”

Water samples collected for the study spanned the country and U.S. territories, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The researchers classified the sample locations as low, medium or high human impact areas. High human impact areas include urban areas and landfills, where the researchers estimate that as little as 25% of tap water could also be freed from PFAS. In rural areas, an estimated 75% of tap water is freed from PFAS, they wrote.

The regions of the country where PFAS-contaminated water was mostly observed included the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the East Coast, and Central and Southern California.

PFAS can filtered from the water, in response to the EPA, which is considering regulating drinking water for the presence of certain PFAS.