Mapping the PFAS Contamination Crisis: New Data Show 610 Sites in 43 States
This week, the United States are celebrating their official Drinking Water Week. Yet, this is overshaded by some disturbing news...
Earlier this week, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) relesead the statement saying that the known extent of contamination of American communities with the highly toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate, with no end in sight.
As of March 2019, at least 610 locations in 43 states are now known to be affected, including drinking water systems serving an estimated 19 million people.
The latest update of an interactive map by EWG and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University, documents publicly known PFAS pollution in public water systems and military bases, airports, industrial plants and dumps, and firefighter training sites. (Details on our sources and methodology are here.)
PFAS compounds are a family of thousands of chemicals used in a wide array of consumer and industrial applications – nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, grease-resistant food packaging, firefighting foam and many more. Studies link very low concentrations of some PFAS chemicals to cancer, thyroid disease, weakened childhood immunity and other health problems. PFAS chemicals pollute the blood of virtually all Americans, including newborn babies, and they persist forever in the environment.
Click HERE to explore the detailed map of PFAS contamination in the U.S.
When the map was last updated, in July 2018, it showed 172 sites in 40 states. However, the data used for this latest update are not directly comparable to last year’s. We are now using more comprehensive data from the federal Safe Drinking Water Information System, which shows PFAS contamination in the tap water supplies of 446 communities. Information about other locations on the map come from the Defense Department and from news reports collected by Northeastern.
PFAS compounds are a family of thousands of chemicals used in a wide array of consumer and industrial applications – nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, grease-resistant food packaging, firefighting foam and many more. The most notorious PFAS compounds are PFOA, formerly used to make DuPont’s Teflon, and PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard.
Read more about PFAS and drinking water uality on The Water Network: