Toxic “forever chemicals” have been found in more than one in four public drinking water systems this year in concentrations at or above the Environmental Protection Agency’s minimum reporting levels.
That’s according to new EPA data released Thursday, showing hundreds of water systems have detected PFAS. Together, these systems provide drinking water to about 46 million people.
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS, are a group of nearly indestructible chemicals that build up in the human body over time. They’ve been used widely for decades in nonstick and water-repellent household products, as well as industrial products.
One system included in the EPA’s data for the first time is in Augusta, Georgia, which detected six distinct PFAS contaminants. With industrial manufacturing, a major military base and a downtown factory that makes fire-retardant bricks, Augusta has multiple PFAS sources.
This map shows water systems included in the EPA's records, as of Nov. 9. It’s based on boundaries developed by SimpleLab, a water-testing company. Click on a system to see the number of pollutants detected at or above the EPA's minimum reporting levels and how much the most concentrated pollutant exceeded those levels. If you don't see a map, click here...more