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Mapping PFAS Crisis: New Data Reveals 19 Million Americans In 43 States Exposed To Toxic Chemicals

Mapping PFAS Crisis: New Data Reveals 19 Million Americans In 43 States Exposed To Toxic Chemicals 

Tens of millions of Americans in 43 states may have been exposed to toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS in their drinking water, according to the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University.

The report shows PFAS chemicals have exposed upwards of 19 million through contaminated groundwater. Researchers found 610 contaminated locations ranging from public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps, and firefighter training sites.

PFAS chemicals were used in thousands of industrial applications and consumer products such as apparels, carpeting, food packaging, firefighting foams, and metal plating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that the toxic chemicals are present in the blood samples of the general population. Prior studies have shown the dangerous chemicals have been linked to weakened childhood immunity, thyroid disease, cancer, and other major health issues.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has utterly failed to address PFAS with the seriousness this crisis demands, leaving local communities and states to grapple with a complex problem rooted in the failure of the federal chemical regulatory system,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG. “EPA must move swiftly to set a truly health-protective legal limit for all PFAS chemicals, requiring utilities to clean up contaminated water supplies.”

The map below locates 610 places in 43 states that have dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals in groundwater. Data from the US Department of Defense and public water utility reports were also included in the map. This additional data shows 117 military sites, including 77 military airports, which have high levels of PFAS firefighting foam.

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