Threshold for harmful chemicals in drinking water lower than thought: Study



A government study found that chemicals found in drinking water around the country could pose risks to human health at lower levels than the government currently recognizes, potentially opening the door for more states to begin cleaning up or regulating the chemical.

The report released Wednesday by a branch of the Office of Health and Human Services examined a category of chemicals commonly called PFAS that have been used to make non-stick products, firefighting foam and water-repellant coatings.

They've been found in water systems and soil around the country. The most researched types of these chemicals are referred to as PFOA and PFOS, both of which remain in the environment for a long time after they're introduced, raising concerns about the health effects to people living near areas contaminated by the chemicals.

The report found that PFOA and PFOS caused negative health effects in rodents at a lower equivalent level in humans than previously recognized by the EPA. The finding could cause a ripple effect, possibly requiring new rules or laws as states work on cleaning up areas with high levels of the chemicals. 

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