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Yale Forum On Toxic PFAS Examines Public Health Impact

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Jim Cole
/
AP

Researchers, regulators and state agencies from Connecticut and New York discussed the latest findings around PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals,” at a symposium last week at Yale School of Public Health.

Dr. Vasilis Vasiliou, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, says PFAS is now a public health issue.

“95% of the population has these compounds, these agents, in their bloodstream. We need to find [out] more. One of the important things is are they capable of causing neurodevelopmental disorders, that’s the important thing. Because if they can affect that, they can affect IQ, they can affect obesity, development of all the kids. So, it’s a big issue.”

Lori Mathieu, with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, says one of the state’s first priorities is testing drinking water to make sure it’s safe. 

“There’s a lot to analyze. There’s private wells that serve about 800,000 people in the state of Connecticut. There’s over 320,000 private wells. There’s over 4,000 public groundwater wells. So, it’s going to be a long road. You can’t do all of this at the same time.”

PFAS can be found in firefighting foam, as well over 4,000 consumer items from pizza boxes to clothing and non-stick cookware. In June 50,000 gallons of firefighting foam from Bradley Airport were accidentally discharged into the Farmington River.

 

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