Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
PFAS foam Photo: Jake May, The Flint Journal, via Associated Press
A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that rainwater across the county contains harmful levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also called “forever chemicals” — levels that have had severe impacts on human health.We have reported in ODP about widespread PFAS contamination in lakes, rivers, and groundwater across the country, but this study shows that PFAS is also found in rainwater, according to The Guardian, and the likely sources are direct industrial emissions and evaporation from PFAS-laden fire-fighting foams.
Why This Matters: PFAS has been shown to cause serious health issues such as cancer, and impacts the immune system and causes thyroid problems. These chemicals are essentially not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency despite these known health effects, but they have been found in hundreds of sites across the U.S. and many states are beginning to prohibit them. Moreover, what we are learning now is that PFAS compounds can move significant distances from their source — these toxic compounds have even been found in the Arctic and in populations of Alaska natives. Congress should be moving to broadly ban them and to fund their cleanup because they have been used widely by the military services and in manufacturing and even in household products. Only last week, Congress passed a law phasing out their use but only by the Defense Department.
Ubiquitous and Forever Chemicals
PFAS chemicals are common in everyday items like insulation, food packaging, carpeting, cookware, and firefighting foam, according to NBC News — they are found in the drinking water of 100 million Americans and the bloodstream of 99% of Americans. They are called the “forever” chemical because they never break down.
Congress Fails To Fund Their Cleanup
PFAS has caused various health problems around military bases where the chemicals were once prominent in fire-fighting equipment. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has produced a map that showcases the 305 military sites across the nation that used PFAS-based firefighting foam. Last week, Congress dropped a provision from the Department of Defense spending bill that would have prohibited the ongoing releases PFAS, required the removal of PFAS from tap water and the cleanup legacy PFAS contamination, according to an EWG press release.
Dupont’s Latest Move
These are the chemicals that are the subject of the new movie Dark Waters that tells the story of the real-life efforts of a lawyer seeking to hold Dupont accountable for pollution from its factory in West Virginia that caused severe health problems in nearby residents. DuPont, which is the main manufacturer of PFAS chemicals, announced last week that it will purchase a company that specializes in reverse osmosis water filtration technology that removes toxic PFAS chemicals from water. The EWG was highly critical of this development.
“After making billions contaminating the nation’s drinking water with PFAS chemicals, now DuPont will profit off the backs of local governments and taxpayers trying to clean up the mess,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “This outrageously cynical move is right on brand for DuPont, which knew decades ago that PFAS chemicals were hazardous to human health but covered it up for the sake of profit.”
The Trump Administration announced last week that it has rejected the settled scientific evidence linking the pesticide chlorpyrifos to serious health problems, particularly in children. This pesticide, which is widely used on soybeans, almonds, grapes, and other crops, has been proven to harm children’s neurological development.
Why this matters: Under the false flag of transparency, EPA is putting children at greater risk.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer On Tuesday, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to accept a petition that will grant the Joshua tree, the famous twisty-limbed yucca plant native to the Mojave desert, endangered species status for one year while the state conducts a study. The plant is now considered a “candidate species” […]
by Razi Beresin-Scher and Miro Korenha According to recent reporting from The Hill, atmospheric smoke is exacerbating the toll of the COVID-19 virus in Oregon and California. Smoke inhalation weakens the immune systems of those suffering from asthma and other underlying respiratory conditions, compromising their ability to recover from the virus. Researchers at the Harvard […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.