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‘Forever chemical’ found in drinking water serving 7.5 million people in California


A nonprofit environmental organization reported it found evidence of a potentially harmful chemical in drinking water systems used by 7.5 million Californians.

The review by the Environmental Working Group detected PFAS, a “forever chemical” that does not break down, in 74 different communities’ water.

Even “very low doses” of PFAS in drinking have been linked to health problems such as cancer and birth defects, the organization said.

All of the tested water exceeded the safe level recommended for PFAS (one part per trillion) and nearly half of the samples had samples over 70 parts per trillion.

One well in Camp Pendleton, a Marine base in San Diego County, measured 820 parts per trillion for several different PFAS chemicals in 2017.

PFAS are found in many items such as Teflon and foams used to fight fire.

“PFAS are used in hundreds of everyday consumer products and commercial applications,” Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at EWG and the lead author of the report, said. “Decades of heavy use and unregulated production have resulted in contamination of water, soil and the blood of people and animals in the farthest corners of the world.”

PFAS have been detected in over 800 water systems across the country, but there is no nationwide safety standard.

“The only way to tackle this contamination crisis is for Congress to act,” Stoiber said. “Tougher laws and regulations are essential.”