Read the full article by Jon Hurdle (NJ Spotlight News)
“Newly released data on contamination at the Chambers Works site in Salem County shows that groundwater contained three PFAS chemicals at levels that sharply exceeded the health limits recently set by New Jersey regulators.
The data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was based on samples taken on-site between July and December last year at the former DuPont chemical manufacturing complex, which is now owned by Chemours.
The tests showed that PFOA, one of the toxic PFAS family of chemicals, was found at up to 310,000 parts per trillion or more than 22,000 times the upper limit set this year by the Department of Environmental Protection as safe for human consumption in drinking water.
PFNA, another type of PFAS chemical, was found as high as 120,000 parts per trillion, or more than 9,000 times what the DEP set as a maximum contaminant level in 2018. A third chemical, PFOS, was found at much lower levels — up to 100 parts per trillion — but that was still more than seven times higher than the limit New Jersey water suppliers are now required to achieve in public drinking water supplies.
The data also included samples of 13 other types of PFAS chemicals that are not regulated by New Jersey or the federal government. They include GenX, one of a new generation of chemicals designed to replace older PFAS because of the growing health concerns, but which some scientists believe are just as toxic.
The data was obtained by NJ Spotlight in response to a request for New Jersey specifics on EPA’s ‘PFAS Action Plan,’ a program designed to monitor and remediate the toxic chemicals nationwide.
PFAS, formally known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, were once used in consumer products like nonstick cookware and flame retardant fabrics, and have been linked to illnesses including some cancers, developmental problems in children, ulcerative colitis, and immune-system conditions.
They have caused growing concern among health professionals and some state governments because the chemicals don’t break down in the environment, and so can be found at high concentrations in soil and groundwater long after their manufacture or use has ended, earning them the label ‘forever chemicals.’ They have been found at higher levels and in more places in New Jersey than in many other states because of its long industrial history, according to state and federal studies over the last decade.
Despite the health concerns and the EPA program, the chemicals remain unregulated nationally, leaving states like New Jersey to set their own limits.
EPA also released data on testing at a Gloucester County site where Solvay Specialty Chemicals used the chemicals until 2010. The data, based on sampling of 37 wells between 2013 and 2017, also showed some at levels far above the health limits set by New Jersey.
One of the Solvay wells found PFNA more than 37,000 times higher than the DEP limit, while PFOA was found at more than 1,600 times above the level for that chemical.
High PFAS contamination at the Solvay site in West Deptford has been known for years, and has prompted a federally funded investigation into any links between PFAS and illness, due to be conducted this fall by the Rutgers School of Public Health…”