Toxic, industrial chemicals that are associated with numerous health problems contaminate the drinking water of U.S. cities at higher rates than previously known, including in Iowa and Illinois.
A nonprofit and advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, released a report Wednesday that found per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the tap water of 44 places in 31 states. The Iowa Quad Cities had the second highest contamination levels from this sample and was above the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit.
The samples were collected from May to December 2019.
PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment and can move through soil to contaminate water sources, fish and wildlife. The chemicals are used in a coating to make products resist heat, oil, grease, stains and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Once consumed, PFAS builds up in blood and organs increasing risk of cancer, harming fetus development and reducing the effectiveness of vaccines.
The CDC report PFAS is found within the entire U.S. population.