Dozens of cities nationwide — including Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans — have toxic “forever chemicals” in their drinking water, an environmental group reported on Wednesday.
Such long-lived “fluorinated” PFAS chemicals (short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have emerged in the last decade as a wider pollution concern because of some evidence of links to cancer and lowered fertility. They are perhaps best known from the 2019 movie Dark Waters, about pollution from a DuPont facility in West Virginia.
Earlier surveys have linked water contamination with these chemicals to firefighting foams and Teflon, but the new independent lab results, which detected PFAS chemicals in 43 of 44 cities tested last year, point to a more widespread problem.
“PFAS in drinking water is not okay,” Environmental Working Group study co-author Sydney Evans told BuzzFeed News. Evans said the group was surprised to see the chemicals turn up in cities as varied as Miami, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. The only place they tested that didn’t have PFAS contamination was Meridian, Mississippi, which gets its water from a 600-foot-deep well.