According to a study released this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the harmful substances were detected in at least 18 percent of water systems in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont.
According to a recent congressional watchdog examination of state data, “forever chemicals” have been detected in water systems serving around 9.5 million people in only six states. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of compounds known to remain in human bodies and the environment, are dubbed “forever chemicals.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided that the two types of forever chemicals analyzed in the GAO report are dangerous to eat even at extremely low doses.
PFAS have been associated with a variety of disorders, including kidney and testicular malignancies, as well as thyroid problems.
The compounds were discovered in water systems servicing around 2.1 million people in New Hampshire, according to the study.
In addition to locating the chemicals in public drinking water systems, the GAO report urged the EPA to conduct more research into whether PFAS has a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged populations. The recommendation was accepted by the EPA.
The six states were chosen because they had created and collected data on PFAS in drinking water regulations or guidelines.
Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, explained, “These are states that are ahead of the curve.”