Think Twice Before Drinking Your Tap Water – Watch

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey has found that nearly half of the tap water in the United States is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.”

The study, which was published in the journal Science, analyzed water samples from 716 locations across the country, including both private wells and public water sources. The researchers found that at least one PFAS chemical was detected in 45% of the samples.

The chemicals are believed to possibly cause numerous health problems in humans, including increased cancer risk, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“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,” Kelly Smalling, USGS research hydrologist and lead author of the study, said.

“The study estimates that at least one type of PFAS — of those that were monitored — could be present in nearly half of the tap water in the U.S. Furthermore, PFAS concentrations were similar between public supplies and private wells,” Smalling added.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a wide variety of products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foam. They are known to be very persistent in the environment, and they can build up in the human body over time.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, forever chemicals “may lead to” decreased fertility, developmental delays in children, behavioral changes, accelerated puberty, hormonal interference, decreased immune response, and increased risk of obesity, among other potential health effects.

“PFAS can get into drinking water when products or wastes containing them are disposed of, used or spilled onto the ground or into lakes and rivers,” the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team website notes. “PFAS move easily through the ground, getting into groundwater that is used for some water supplies or for private drinking water wells.”

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, liver damage, and decreased fertility. The chemicals have also been shown to interfere with the body’s natural ability to break down fats, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.