Industrial chemicals threaten water supplies for 6 million people
Drinking water supplies serving more than 6 million Americans contain unsafe levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked to potentially serious health problems, according to a new study from Harvard University researchers.
The chemicals — known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — have been used for decades in industrial and commercial products, including nonstick coatings on pans, food wrappers, water-repellent clothing and firefighting foam. Long-term exposure has been linked to increased risks of kidney cancer, thyroid problems, high cholesterol and other issues.
“Virtually all Americans are exposed to these compounds,” said Xindi Hu, the lead author. “They never break down.”