Threat of Contaminated Tap Water Across U.S. “Dramatically Underestimated”

Tap water in the United States is contaminated with toxic fluorinated chemicals at a higher rate than we previously thought, according to a new report. “It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at Environmental Working Group and co-author of the report published Wednesday. “Forever chemicals,” also known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are resistant to breaking down and may affect far more than the 110 million Americans estimated in the Environmental Working Group’s 2018 report based on unpublished US Environmental Protection Agency data. Some of the chemicals are known to cause cancer, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems. “The results confirm that the number of Americans exposed to PFAS from contaminated tap water has been dramatically underestimated by previous studies, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and EWG’s own research,” the report said. Some of the highest levels were found in Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, northern New Jersey, and New York City suburbs. The manmade chemicals were used in products like Scotchguard and Teflon.

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