More than 80% of US waterways contaminated by ‘forever chemicals’

  • 23.10.2022
  • The Guardian

Most of America’s waterways are likely contaminated by toxic PFAS “forever chemicals”, a new study conducted by US water keepers finds.

The Waterkeeper Alliance analysis found detectable PFAS levels in 95 out of 114, or 83%, of waterways tested across 34 states and the District of Columbia, and frequently at levels that exceed federal and state limits.

“The results clearly show widespread PFAS contamination across the country and demonstrate that existing laws and regulations are inadequate for protecting us,” said Marc Yaggi, CEO of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit network that represents local “water keepers” who monitor watersheds throughout the country for pollution.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals often used to make products resist water, stain and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally break down, and are linked to cancer, liver problems, thyroid issues, birth defects, kidney disease, decreased immunity and other serious health problems.