In recent posts, we’ve looked a bit at the issue of water fluoridation and some of the legal aspects of the topic. As we noted, water fluoridation allowed on the belief that it is beneficial for public health, and the question of fluoride toxicity is largely dismissed, even if more researchers are questioning the practice.
The presence of toxins in public drinking water goes well beyond the fluoride discussion, of course. Most readers are familiar with the Flint crisis, which involved lead contamination of the public water supply and subsequent litigation. Another toxic substance sometimes found in public drinking water is collectively known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs.
PFASs are a class of chemicals used in paints, fire-fighting foam and various other applications where repelling oil and water is necessary. The chemicals are known to cause various health problems, such as obesity, endocrine disruption, kidney cancer, and elevated cholesterol. Although industrial sites are an important source of these chemicals, they also appear in drinking water.
The EPA sets limits to PFAS levels in public water supplies and the agency added six specific PFASs last year to a list of that are contaminants routinely monitored. Not much research has been done about the source of PFASs in drinking water, though a recent Harvard study found that, other than industrial sites, PFASs can also come from firefighting training on military bases and airports, as well as from consumer products, landfills and wastewater treatment plants.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, particularly as it relates to Georgians.