Scientists call for action on chemicals contaminating nation’s drinking water

  • US & Canada
  • Tags: water

Highly fluorinated chemicals contaminate the drinking water of millions of Americans, and scientists are saying enough is enough. The compounds, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance, are found in stain and water repellents, food packaging, fire fighting foams -- and about 95 percent of blood samples of U.S. residents.

A November 2017 statement signed by 39 scientists, as well as physicians and public health officials, calls on the federal government to take concrete action to address this.

One of the signatories, Tracey Easthope of Health Care Without Harm’s Safer Chemicals program says, “These chemicals are now in nearly all of our bodies, are found in the air and water around the globe, and they never go away. Not only do we need a research agenda to protect the millions of people already exposed at unsafe levels, we need action from manufacturers to stop using them, and a global policy effort to phase them out.

Published in the research journal Environmental Health, the authors warn that as many as 6 million Americans nationwide are exposed to chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, and do not have access to clean drinking water. Additionally, there is a need for a cohesive and coordinated interagency governmental program to conduct exposure analysis, biomonitoring, health studies, and medical monitoring in order to fully understand the gravity of the situation and to prevent future similar scenarios from developing.