Media Reports Americans’ Water Supply Is Contaminated. Here’s The Rest of The Story.

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On Thursday, the New York Times reprinted an article from Reuters stating that a chemical contaminating Americans’ water supply was seven to ten times higher than the threshold recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Citing a draft report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that Reuters said had been suppressed by the White House and EPA, Reuters wrote, “The chemicals in question, which have been used for decades in products like Teflon and other non-stick products and firefighting foam, have contaminated water systems. Companies like Dow Chemical and 3M have faced numerous lawsuits from people exposed to the chemicals in their water supply.”

Then, the warning shot: “Public water systems, private drinking wells and military water supplies have been treated on a 2016 EPA recommendation that advised people not to drink water if it had more than 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOA and PFOS chemicals, a level that some researchers said was inadequate to protect public health. The HHS agency said the level should be 7-ppt for PFOS and 11-ppt for PFOA -- the two common PFAS compounds.”

Republican Senator Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia stated, “After repeatedly pushing the administration to make these findings public, I’m very glad to see it release this study today. The information contained in the report will help determine potential threats our communities face as a result of certain water contamination issues."

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC):

CDC scientists measured PFOA in the serum (a clear part of blood) of 2094 participants aged 12 years and older who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2003–2004 … CDC scientists found PFOA in the serum of nearly all the people tested, indicating that PFOA exposure is widespread in the U.S. population.

Yet in an abstract for a 2010 study published by the National Institutes of Health, it stated, “Data on the human health effects of PFOA are sparse,” concluding, “Epidemiologic evidence remains limited, and to date data are insufficient to draw firm conclusions regarding the role of PFOA for any of the diseases of concern.”

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