Dangerous levels of toxic chemicals were found in drinking water for 6 million Americans

Dangerous levels of toxic chemicals were found in drinking water for 6 million Americans

Dangerous levels of toxic chemicals were found in drinking water for 6 million Americans, according to brand new research from Harvard.

Levels of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are linked to cancer and other health conditions, are too high in water for 6 million American people.

For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as PFASs, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences,” said lead author Xindi Hu, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and Environmental Science and Engineering at SEAS. “In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population — about 100 million people.”

PFAs have been used for the past six decades in food wrappers, pots and pans, and so much more. These chemicals are linked to cancer, hormonal problems, high cholesterol and obesity. Drinking water is one of the main ways humans are exposed to PFAs.

Water from 13 states accounted for three-quarters of the dangerously high PFA levels. The following are the states in order of levels measured: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

The highest levels of PFAs were found near watersheds, industrial areas, military bases, and wastewater treatment facilities.

These compounds are potent immunotoxicants in children and recent work suggests drinking water safety levels should be much lower than the provisional guidelines established by EPA,” said Elsie Sunderland, senior author of the study and associate professor in both the Harvard Chan School and SEAS.

The study showing that dangerous levels of toxic chemicals were found in drinking water for 6 million Americans was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

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1. “Unsafe Levels of Toxic Chemicals Found in Drinking Water for Six Million Americans.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.
2. “Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants.” Environmental Science & Technology Letters. ACS Publications, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

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