“The Washington Department of Health plans to test several hundred water systems in the state for trace contamination of more than a dozen chemicals found in some firefighting foams.

The chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. They already have been found in five Washington drinking-water systems at levels over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, as well as dozens of private drinking-water wells near firefighting training areas where the foams were used.

Department officials will use the test results to help assess the scope of the problem as they work with the Washington State Board of Health to develop possible state standards for some of the chemicals.

Washington drinking-water contamination is part of a much larger PFAS pollution problem at sites across the country. These chemicals are now undergoing a federal toxicology review that has drawn scrutiny from the White House, where an unidentified aide — in a January email released under the federal Freedom of Information Act — warned of a ‘potential public relations nightmare.’

The federal review was conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal public-health agency, and recommends ‘minimal risk levels’ for four PFAS chemicals in drinking water. This level, for at least one of these chemicals, is considerably more stringent than the EPA guideline, according to the January email.

Now, more than three months after the email was circulated, the draft report has not been made public. This has raised bipartisan concerns in Congress that the Trump administration is trying to delay publication or alter the findings.”

Read the full article by Hal Bernton