Study suggests that the levels of chemical contaminates in drinking water may be too high

Avatar By Lliane Hunter | 2 years ago

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to hold its summit on perfluorooctanoate (PFOAs) next week with the intent to discuss what needs to be done about contaminates in our drinking water supply. Ahead of the summit, a new study suggests that current levels may be too high.

Contamination of our water supply by perchlorates—a class of chemical produced in industrial settings— is expected, writes Kat Eschner for Popular Science. The EPA has established guidelines about how much PFOA can be in drinking water before it poses a significant public health risk. Although the agency doesn’t technically regulate the levels of PFOA in drinking water, it has created a “health advisory level,” explains Eschner, which is 70 parts per trillion. Information has come out suggesting that any quantity of these contaminants is bad for us. “That’s because they stick around and accumulate in living things over time, permeating soil and water and traveling up the food chain,” Eschner writes.

According to an email obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the EPA’s suggested levels might not be low enough to address health concerns. In fact, PFOAs have been associated with issues in pregnancy and birth, as well as some cancers. The EPA received the study conducted by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which includes numbers as low as 12 ppt to 516 ppt, but has not released the study to the public. “This is a perfect example of how Scott Pruitt operates, and how this administration operates,” UCO spokesperson Yogin Kothari told Popular Science. “They’re sidelining science and they’re sidelining reports because they don’t want to deal with the political fallout…”