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PFAs Major Issue for U.S. Water Systems

3 weeks ago
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Four water systems in the Oklahoma City metro area were found to have per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAs) above levels allowed by the agency. Residents near Tinker Air Force Base have been using bottled water supplied by the U.S. government for more than two years.

Some residents have gone to the hospital for severe stomach pain. Residents claim firefighting foam used to control flames from planes is to blame. The Environmental Protection Agency says one PFA is 73% higher than acceptable levels.

Other nearby water systems have also been affected by PFAs above the permissible level in their drinking water, including Noble Utilities Authority in Noble, Oklahoma, where one PFA was found to be 136.7% above safe limits, Piedmont Municipal Authority in Piedmont, with three pollutants 20% or more above acceptable limits and Norman Utilities Authority in Norman, Oklahoma, with one pollutant 22% over level.

An examination of water analysis from 3,800 systems found that 1,245 had PFAs above acceptable limits as set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Over 45% of Water Contaminated

According to a report released in August 2023 by the U.S. Geological Survey, over 45% of U.S. drinking water is contaminated with forever chemicals. The team led by Kelly L. Smalling could only test for 32 of the 1,200 substances that fall into this group.

The study tested 716 water samples collected from people's kitchen sinks between 2016 and 2021. The team chose water samples from homes at different economic levels. No difference in test results was found between those using public drinking water and those using private wells.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to PFAs can affect a person's health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, at least 70 million people may be drinking water with high PFA levels.


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