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Toxic PFAS found in U.S. drinking water by location 2019

Between May and December 2019, toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS were detected in tap water samples across the United States. Brunswick County had the highest concentration of PFAS, with 185.9 parts per trillion (ppt). PFAS were also detected in major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia and the nations capital, exposing millions of people to potentially unsafe drinking water. Though the Environmental Protection Agency limit is 70 ppt, independent agencies put the recommended level much lower, at one ppt.

These "forever chemicals" include perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and have been used in the U.S. since the 1940's to manufacture everyday items. They have been linked with cancer and birth defects and have been found in blood samples.

Toxic fluorinated chemicals (PFAS) found in United States tap water as of December 2019, by select city and county (in parts per trillion)*

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Source

Release date

January 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

May to December, 2019

Supplementary notes

*Samples were taken by either EWG staff or local volunteers and analyzed by an independent accredited laboratory using a modified version of EPA Method 537.

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