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Toxic forever chemicals in nearly half of nation's water

1 year 2 weeks 3 days ago Friday, July 07 2023 Jul 7, 2023 July 07, 2023 5:50 PM July 07, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Much of the nation's water supply is in trouble from so-called toxic forever chemicals, known as PFAS.

PFAS are man-made chemicals found in several household products, making them increasingly hard to avoid.

"Stain resistant clothing, grease resistant, food-packaging products, water-resistant clothing, non-stick cookware, they're also in firefighting foams," Kelly Smalling, a research hydrogeologist for U.S Geological Survey, said.

Since their creation in the 1940s, they found their way into the nation's water supply. USGS now has a better estimate as to how many PFAS is in the water supply. Previously, they monitored public water supplies, but this year, they were also able to sample private wells.

"These forever chemicals are in approximately 45% of US taps, and they could have at least one PFAS," Smalling said. "So we saw higher concentrations in more urbanized areas, areas with known sources of PFAS, a lot of industrial development, a lot of airports, military installations, and a lot of waste water."

As for Louisiana, PFAS have been detected in a handful of parishes, but East Baton Rouge is not one of them due to the water source.

"The surface water is where they are finding these forever chemicals and the water supply we're getting is limited by thousands of feet of hard shell," Adrienne Mire, Vice President of BR Water, said.

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving the state more than $26 million to test and reduce these toxic forever chemicals.

To see an interactive map and learn more about PFAS detections, click here.

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