On January 22, 2020, the non-governmental organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) published an article presenting results from new tests measuring the prevalence of 30 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water of major U.S. cities. Tap water samples were taken between May and December 2019 from 44 sites across 31 U.S. states and the Washington D.C. area. Only one of these sites was found to have no detectable PFAS, and only two other sites had “PFAS below the level [of 1 part per trillion (ppt)] that independent studies show pose risks to human health.”
EWG points out that their study’s results “are in sharp contrast” to testing mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 2013 and 2015, which they explain is because the EPA mandated testing of only 10 PFAS and required reporting only if concentrations were above minimum limits ranging from 10 ppt to 90 ppt. These testing limitations, EWG argues, led to the EPA “obscuring the full scope of PFAS contamination.”
The organization writes that, based on these tests and other recent research showing PFAS widespread in rainwater, they “believe PFAS is likely detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S., almost certainly in all that use surface water.” In March 2019, EWG began to map reported concentrations of PFAS contamination from 1’400 sites across the U.S. (FPF reported).
EWG (January 22, 2020). “PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported.”
ACC (January 22, 2020). “ACC Responds to EWG’s Report on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in America’s Drinking Water.”
BuzzFeed News (January 22, 2020). “People In 43 US Cities Are Drinking Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Their Tap Water, Tests Show.”
Jordan Davidson (January 23, 2020). “Forever chemicals contaminate more drinking water than previously reported.” EcoWatch