45% of faucet water might comprise Eternally Chemical compounds

A new study suggests so tap water Nearly 45% of faucets in the US may contain “perennial chemicals” known as PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances).

These substances “break down very slowly and can accumulate,” leading to “adverse health outcomes” including “an increased risk of some types of cancer,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

PFAS ‘could be present in nearly half of all tap water in the US’

The US Geological Survey (USGS) announced its findings earlier this year, and the agency released a statement on the research on Wednesday (July 5).

The study involved researchers who tested tap water collected at 716 sites in all 50 states between 2016 and 2021. In addition, they tested tap water from select areas of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Notably, while there are “more than 12,000 species of PFAS,” the USGS study only “tested for the presence of 32 species.”

Even at this scale, the researchers stated, “We estimate that approximately 45% of US drinking water samples had at least one PFAS detected.”

USGS researcher and lead author Kelly Smalling described the study as “the most comprehensive study on PFAS in tap water to date”.

“USGS scientists have tested water collected directly from people’s kitchen sinks across the country, providing the most comprehensive study to date of PFAS in tap water from private wells and public utilities.”

Smalling continued, emphasizing that the results indicate that PFAS “could be in almost half of all tap water in the US” And only if scientists monitor 32 of them!

“The study estimates that at least one type of PFAS — the monitored one — could be present in nearly half of all tap water in the United States. In addition, PFAS concentrations were similar between public utilities and private wells.”

Differences in rates between urban and rural areas

In addition to looking at the overall tap water fraction, the study also found that exposure rates increased near urban areas as these tended to contain more “potential sources of PFAS”.

The authors note that geographic areas with “the greatest exposure” included “the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the East Coast, and the Central/Southern California regions.”

In addition, the researchers stated: “USGS scientists estimate that the probability of not observing PFAS in tap water is about 75% in rural areas and about 25% in urban areas.”

However, the EPA says people can find PFAS “in many places,” so avoiding the “eternal chemicals” altogether seems like quite a challenge.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) states: “It is also possible for very small amounts of PFAS to enter food via food packaging, processing and cookware.”

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