PBS NewsHour: What are PFASs, the toxic chemicals being found in drinking water?

August 12 2016

More than 16 million Americans drink water contaminated with toxic chemicals that can be traced to military and industrial sites, according to new research from Harvard University. The compounds in question are called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. They are typically used in fire retardants, oil and water repellents, furniture, waterproof clothes, take out containers and non-stick cookware.…

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TIME: How to Find Out If Your Drinking Water Is Safe

August 10 2016

A recent study found that millions of Americans are consuming water from a public supply contaminated with dangerous levels of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl, otherwise known as PFASs. Though not all of their potential effects are known, these industrial chemicals have been linked to various medical conditions like high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer. Effects may not be noticeable for some people, but certain aspects, including timing of puberty, could compound the potential risks.…

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NPR: Federal Data Shows Firefighting Chemicals In U.S. Drinking Water Sources

August 9 2016

A study of drinking water supplies throughout the U.S. shows that numerous sources are contaminated with firefighting chemicals. A team of scientists examined government data from thousands of public drinking water supplies. The water samples had been collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The scientists were looking for several types of chemicals from a class of fluorinated substances used commonly in firefighting foam.…

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CNN: Study: Public water supply is unsafe for millions of Americans

August 9 2016

For their new study, Hu, Blum and their colleagues examined more than 36,000 water samples collected by the Environmental Protection Agency between 2013 and 2015. The researchers discovered that 66 public water supplies serving 6 million Americans had at least one water sample that measured at or above the EPA recommended safety limit of 70 parts per trillion for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid, two types of PFASs. Newark, Delaware, and Warminster, Pennsylvania, showed particularly high concentration levels.…

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Forty years later TSCA gets an overhaul

In June, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (TSCA reform, hereafter), a revision to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA. The amended law removes several roadblocks that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faced when trying to determine the safety of chemicals in household products. There are significant improvements and some drawbacks concerning the revisions…

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