‘Toxic Forever Chemicals’ in U.S. Drinking Water to Be Regulated for the First Time
For the first time, the U.S. government has proposed limits on toxic “forever chemicals” in the nation’s drinking water.
Compounds in this class of chemicals, known scientifically as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), have a strong carbon-fluorine bond. That means they don’t readily break down under ambient environmental conditions—and it is suspected that they can persist in the environment for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. PFASs have been linked to a wide range of health issues, including various cancers, immune deficiencies and pregnancy complications.
Thousands of PFASs have been used in hundreds of products ranging from cookware to clothing and from firefighting foam to pesticides. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found these chemicals in the blood of nearly everyone the agency has tested for them. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization, found that the drinking water of a majority of Americans contains at least two PFAS compounds.