Fairfield had highest concentrations of PFAS in drinking water in 16-state study
A new community-led study has found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current monitoring misses some PFAS chemicals in drinking water.
The study was conducted by community members in 16 states — including Maine — and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Council's senior scientist Anna Reade says they found 26 PFAS chemicals in drinking water, 12 of which are not covered by EPA monitoring.
"That in an of itself was really alarming. We suspected we might be missing some, but that was almost half of the chemicals that we detected," she says.
A site in Fairfield had the highest concentrations of PFAS in the study.
The EPA is currently proposing a rule to establish legally enforceable standards in drinking water for six PFAS chemicals. The Council supports the rule, but Reade says the agency should expand the number of PFAS it tests for and manage the chemicals as a class instead of setting piecemeal standards.
PFAS are in many common consumer and industrial products and have been linked to cancer, kidney disease and other health problems. They are often referred to as "forever chemicals" because they break down very slowly.