A study from the National Institutes of Health noted about 97% of people in the U.S. have distinguishable levels of PFAS in their blood.
According to Medical News Today, epidemiological studies link high blood serum levels of two PFAS in particular — PFOA and PFOS— to weakened immunity, thyroid disease and high cholesterol.
There has also been a study that reviewed a local population with exposure to high PFOA levels in drinking water due to chemical plant emissions. Researchers discovered an association between the chemicals and testicular cancer and kidney cancers.
In the new study, researchers wrote that they found “that mixtures of PFAS are nearly ubiquitous in surface water, the predominate source of drinking water for the U.S. population.
"We estimate that 18–80 million people in the U.S. receive tap water with 10 ng/L or greater concentration of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) combined, and over 200 million people likely receive water with a PFOA and PFOS concentration at or above 1 ng/L,” they continued.
No federal standards exist for PFOS and in their absence, states have established their own.
New Jersey issued a maximum contaminant limit for the compound PFNA, first putting the maximum at 13 ppt. It has set standards of 13 ppt for PFOS and 14 ppt for PFOA. Other states have established or proposed limits on the substances, including California, New York and Michigan.
“The first step in fighting any contamination crisis is to turn off the tap,” Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs said in a statement. “The second step is to set a drinking water standard, and the third is to clean up legacy pollution. The PFAS Action Act passed by the House would address all three steps by setting deadlines for limiting industrial PFAS releases, setting a two-year deadline for a drinking water standard, and designating PFAS as ‘hazardous substances’ under the Superfund law. But Mitch McConnell’s Senate has refused to act to protect our communities from ‘forever chemicals.’”
EWG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group with the mission of enabling people to “live healthier lives in a healthier environment,” according to the website.
For more on the group’s study, see the announcement here.