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Report: Use Of PFAS Chemicals Linked To Health Problems Is Widespread

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization, released a report on Wednesday revealing that more than 40,000 industrial and municipal sites are known to use PFAS across the country. It’s part of a push to clean up the so-called forever chemicals.

Those are chemicals that are linked to cancer and serious health problems. They have been found in groundwater on Long Island.

Dr. David Andrews is a senior scientist with the EWG.

“There is no system for tracking where these chemicals have been used, or where they have been released into the environment. The current administration is taking efforts to start collecting this information but we don’t currently have it,” Andrews said.

Andrews said federal and public knowledge of where PFAS are being used is important to public health.

The EWG hopes the report is the first-step in eliminating PFAS into the environment by identifying contamination sources.

Adrienne Esposito is the executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment on Long Island.

“We have a number of superfund sites on Long Island. We have other sites that have not reached superfund sites but are contaminated with PFAS and we have a lot of work to do," Esposito said.

Esposito said we need a federal drinking water standard for these chemicals to protect the public.

New York adopted a first-in-the-nation drinking water standard last year setting the maximum contaminant level only 10 parts per trillion for PFAS.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.