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Expert Take: Drinking Water Limits Needed for PFAS

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Mk2010, https://tinyurl.com/y5wl6vmc
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Non-stick cookware is a source of PFAS chemicals in our bodies.

Fire fighting foams, non-stick pots and pans, stain-resistant furniture, and water-proof outerwear. They sound like inventions of the Jetsons.

The chemicals that give these items their nearly magical properties are known as PFAS - perfluoroalkyl substances. And they’re not staying in our clothes and cookwear. These chemicals have also been found in drinking water supplies around the country and in the vast majority of people’s bodies.

There’s growing concern about the health impacts of PFAS. High levels of exposure have been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, and to weakened immune responses.

Over the past year, EPA has been holding community meetings and gathering comments as they consider setting legal drinking water limits for PFAS. Several states have also set limits or started moving in that direction.

Rainer Lohmann, a professor of oceanography at University of Rhode Island and director of the STEEP Superfund Research Center, says comprehensive drinking water limits are needed to address the risks from PFAS.

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Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.