A sip from the tap might not kill you today, but it might over 30 years.
A new federal study out Wednesday found nearly half of all U.S. tap water is contaminated with PFAS, commonly known as “forever chemicals.” PFAS are a group of synthetic compounds that break down slowly and are commonly used on everyday products such as cookware and food packaging.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has connected PFAS exposure to a range of severe health problems from developmental delays in children and fertility issues to obesity and cancer. PFAS exposure has also been linked to abnormal cholesterol levels, hormone suppression, and liver damage. Last summer, the EPA issued a health advisory about the lingering chemicals, raising the alarm that exposure was more dangerous than previously known. The agency updated guidelines from 2016 to reset determined risk exposure to two of the most widely studied chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, from 70 parts per trillion to nearly zero.
The new data published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Wednesday revealed 45 percent of the nation’s tap water contained at least one or more types of “forever chemicals.” Researchers measured for just 32 different kinds of PFAS out of more than 12,000 that exist. Samples were taken from 716 locations between 2016 and 2021.
“USGS scientists tested water collected directly from people’s kitchen sinks across the nation, providing the most comprehensive study to date on PFAS in tap water from both private wells and public supplies,” USGS research hydrologist Kelly Smalling, the study’s lead author, said in a press release. “PFAS concentrations were similar between public supplies and private wells.”
The map from the USGS below outlines PFAS concentrations in tap water locations found throughout the United States.
The widespread contamination of tap water raises significant concerns for public health in a nation where life expectancy is suffering its first significant decline in more than 100 years. Americans who live through the next century are projected to suffer an epidemic of chronic illness, with 6 in 10 Americans already living with at least one chronic disease.
Dr. Keith Nichols, a certified member of the American Academy of Endocrinology and CEO of Tier 1 Health and Wellness in East Tennessee, blames the nation’s incumbent health crises on low testosterone levels driven down by endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
“[We’re seeing] increased morbidity across the board with low testosterone,” Nichols told The Federalist in February.
“All this decline has correlated with the increase in environmental chemicals,” Nichols told The Federalist. “We are being chemically castrated by our environment.”
Anthony Jay, the president of the International Medical Research Collaborative, published a book in 2017 warning about the proliferation of estrogenic substances contaminating everyday life. In his book, “Estrogeneration: How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick, and Infertile,” Jay dedicated an entire section to substances found in presumably “clean” drinking water.
“City water ‘treatment plants,'” Jay found, “are not effectively removing estrogenics.” And if city water treatment plants are failing to filter out pollutants such as phthalates and atrazine, they’re certainly prone to miss far more, as demonstrated by the USGS this week with the discovery of PFAS in nearly half the nation’s water supplies.
“These chemicals should not have been legal to begin with,” Jay told The Federalist of the PFAS detection survey. “Our municipal water suppliers are good at killing viruses and bacteria but they are not good at filtering out hormone-disrupting chemicals. People absolutely need to filter their own drinking water, these days, ideally with a filter containing activated charcoal.”