Which areas of the United States are most affected by PFAS water contamination?

March 01, 2022 3 min read

Which areas of the United States are most affected by PFAS water contamination?

The idea of a chemical that lives on forever sounds straight out of a science fiction novel. This idea gets even scarier: Once these chemicals enter the human body, there is no way for them to leave. These chemicals are not out of a scary book, however, but instead they plague more than 2,854 communities across the United States. 

What are Forever Chemicals?

These “forever chemicals,” also known as PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are making waves in the environmental sector after their health risks are becoming more and more prevalent in the lives of average Americans. These chemicals do not break down over time, so the unwilling consumption of these chemicals will lead to PFAS staying inside the consumer for the rest of their days. While studies are still being conducted on the health effects of this pollutant, so far PFAS have been linked to the developmental harm of fetuses, increased risks of cancer, and reduced vaccination efficacy. Expectant mothers and their fetuses are at the greatest risk of PFAS contamination.

PFAS are most commonly found leaking out of factories manufacturing nonstick products, but oil companies, gas companies, military sites, and airports are all part of the PFAS problem. 49 out of 50 states found PFAS in their water supplies, according to a new study done by the Environmental Working Group. Major hubs like Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New York City experience some of the highest detectable levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, but any area can be susceptible to PFAS contamination. 

For example, in August 2021, the city of Tucson, Arizona shut down a water treatment center once the water was tested to be alarmingly above the the Environment Protection Agency’s suggested PFAS cap. The EPA advises the PFAS level to stay below 70 parts per trillion, but Tucson’s water levels reached 10,000 parts per trillion. They found that the firefighting foam used on a nearby military base contained exorbitant amounts of PFAS, which would enter groundwater wells through rain runoff. These wells provided drinking water for over 60,000 residents, who are now unwilling consumers of PFAS.

In addition to military bases putting locals at risk of PFAS exposure, landfills are seen to have the same effect at St. Helena, a city in Napa County, California. The landfill in St. Helena holds years’ worth of commercial and industrial waste, containing PFAS and other harmful chemicals. St. Helena resident Dennis Kelly suffers from colon and stomach cancer, diseases he and many others in his community are linking to contaminants in their drinking water. Currently, there is no legislation in place to fund addressing the PFAS problem, so it is up to individual states, towns, and households to address the risk tap water brings. 

To ensure PFAS and their health risks stay out of your household, turn to Seychelle. Seychelle water filtration systems are third-party tested to remove up to 99.9% of PFAS from tap water. Investing in Seychelle means investing in a safe, chemical-free future. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?

PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are harmful chemicals known as “forever chemicals.” They are tightly bound together in a manner that allows them to survive for thousands of years in the environment. 

Are PFAS harmful?

Research in PFAS was widely ignored before recently, but now new studies are emerging that link PFAS to various types of cancer, developmental disruptions in fetuses and infants, birth defects, and reduced effectiveness of vaccines. 

How can I protect myself and my family from PFAS?

Seychelle water filters are specifically designed to filter out harmful toxins, including PFAS. Filtering tap water through a Seychelle product allows for peace of mind when it comes to clean, PFAS-free water. 

Works Cited

Dwyer, Devin, et. al. “‘Ticking time bomb’: PFAS chemicals in drinking water alarm scientists over health risks.”ABC News, 10 August 2021,https://abcnews.go.com/US/ticking-time-bomb-pfas-chemicals-drinking-water-alarm/story?id=79300094. Accessed 22 February 2022. 

Evans, Sydney, et. al. “Drinking Water Far More Prevalent than Previously Reported.”Environmental Working Group, 22 January 2020,https://www.ewg.org/research/national-pfas-testing/. Accessed 22 February 2022. 

Gillam, Cary and Alvin Chang. “Revealed: more than 120,000 US sites feared to handle harmful PFAS ‘forever’ chemicals.” The Guardian, 17 October 2021,https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/17/us-epa-pfas-forever-chemicals-sites-data.Accessed 22 February 2022. 

“Mapping the PFAS contamination crisis: New data show 2,854 sites in 50 states and two territories.”Environmental Working Group, 4 October 2021,https://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/pfas_contamination/. Accessed 22 February 2022.