A recent analysis conducted by the National Center for Environmental Health has revealed that more than 6 million Americans are drinking water polluted with highly fluorinated chemicals.
The studied chemicals in the class are linked to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, high cholesterol, decreased immune function in children, and other serious health problems.
According to the study, the chemicals make their way from manufacturing facilities, consumer products and firefighting activities into the air, water, and food, and then into humans.
The health impact of these chemicals, which are increasingly being found in our drinking water, is very concerning.
Patrick Breysse, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, described highly fluorinated chemicals as “one of the most seminal public health challenges for the next decades.”
Scientists are expressing concern that the government’s current response is not adequate and are calling for a strategy that would provide impacted communities with the information, blood testing, health studies and medical monitoring that they are urgently requesting.
According to The Hill, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have also been asking for action to address this crisis. Some good news is that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which passed the Senate and House this week includes a provision for $7 million to begin a five to seven-year-long health study of communities affected by these harmful chemicals. The legislation would also establish the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of exposure to highly fluorinated chemicals from drinking water.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama administration policy that protected more than half the nation’s streams from pollution.
Environmental groups denounced the move, saying it would remove drinking water safeguards for one in three Americans while jeopardizing thousands of streams that flow into larger rivers and lakes, plus wetlands that filter pollutants and soak up floodwaters.
“Clean water is vital to our ecology, our health and our quality of life,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America.