The national issue of perfluorinated alkylated substance contamination has resulted in numerous communities taking measures to test their nearby water sources for the "forever chemicals." Groundwater contamination has been confirmed in locations ranging from residential neighborhoods and schools to government buildings and military bases.
The EPA describes PFAS as man-made chemicals used for nonstick coatings and in industrial processes since the 1940s. The chemicals are known to be harmful to humans and can bioaccumulate, meaning they will remain in the environment as a source of contamination for many years to come, according to the National Defense Research Committee. PFOA and PFOS are two common variants identified as probable carcinogens.
Groundwater testing in communities across the U.S.
Nearly every American tested for the per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances has one or more in their bodies; one common way humans are exposed to PFAS is through food and drinking water that have been heavily contaminated.
According to the U.S. Navy, the best option that those in communities with contaminated water sources can take to avoid ingesting the chemicals is to utilize an alternate water source as often as possible. Many communities are looking into PFAS research - even if recorded levels of the chemicals found in water sources do not reach threat level.
In Michigan, for example, a statewide multi-agency effort to test public water sources (which serve 1.7 million residents) for the chemicals did not find any evidence of contamination in several counties that "reached actional levels set by state criteria and federal guidelines," according to Petoskey News. The testing did not include surface waters and private wells, which serve 2.6 million residents - this has left most further research up to private individuals and third parties.
E.P.A. could order new round of PFAS testing; approves new testing method
At the end of December, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a method to test for additional PFAS chemicals after Bloomberg reported that the agency could order a further round of water testing for suppliers nationwide beginning in 2023. There was also a sampling ordered from 2013 to 2015 that tested for six PFAS types.
The new testing method will help improve the effectiveness of the agency's PFAS Action Plan. Among other highlights, the plan focuses on drinking water regulation, surface water protection and the assessment of the potential PFAS-related health impact of biosolids.
"EPA's important scientific advancement makes it possible for both government and private laboratories to effectively measure more PFAS chemicals in drinking water than ever before," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, adding that the agency is now capable of measuring 29 chemicals.
If you have found yourself needing to use an alternate water supply in the wake of PFAS testing in your community, Aqua Finance's water treatment options can help with the removal of other contaminants. Visit our website to contact us or find out more!