Toxic 'forever chemicals' contaminating US tap water, claims report

  • In the report, researchers discovered 56 new contaminants, including pesticides and radioactive materials, in tap water.
The researchers studied nearly 50,000 water systems over the past two years from across the US to arrive at conclusion.(Bloomberg)
The researchers studied nearly 50,000 water systems over the past two years from across the US to arrive at conclusion.(Bloomberg)
Updated on Nov 04, 2021 01:03 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Millions of people living in the United States are at the risk of developing cancer and other problems such as liver disease due to the contaminated tap water they are consuming, a report by a leading environmental group has claimed. The Environmental Working Group, in its report claimed that toxic contaminants have been discovered in the tap water, which is consumed by Americans on a daily basis.

In the report, researchers discovered 56 new contaminants, including pesticides and radioactive materials, in tap water. The problem is mainly caused by the decaying infrastructure and the pollution from toxic "forever chemicals", that can be found in water, air, food or even in shampoo or makeup, according to the report.

The researchers studied nearly 50,000 water systems over the past two years from across the US to arrive at conclusion.

There are several thousand types of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), but their common characteristic is that they disintegrate extremely slowly, earning them the nickname "forever chemicals".

Once ingested, these chemicals accumulate in the body. According to some studies, exposure to PFAS can lead to problems with fertility, developmental delays in children, increased risks of obesity or certain cancers (prostate, kidney and testicular). It can also increase cholesterol levels or even a decrease in the immune response to certain infections or after a vaccine.

The PFAS can notably be found in things like food packaging, such as pizza boxes. It is also found in certain cleaning products, paints, varnishes or coatings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the US, due to the widespread use of products with PFAS, it makes it "challenging to study and assess the extent of potential human health and environmental risks." "Many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment," the EPA informed on its official website.

(With agency inputs)

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Saturday, December 04, 2021