Read the full article by Bay Journal (Kent Pilot)

A new round of testing for ‘forever chemicals’ in St. Mary’s County, MD, found ‘no levels of concern’ in oysters or in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay tributaries where the shellfish were growing, according to state environmental officials.

“Sampling done by the Maryland Department of the Environment detected no PFAS, or per– and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in oysters collected from rivers and creeks near Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Surface waters sampled where those oysters were growing registered what officials described as ‘very low’ levels of the chemicals.

Some environmental activists, though, questioned the state’s interpretation of its findings — in part because they came up with somewhat different results from their own oyster testing. But they also note that what the MDE considers very low levels in water are well above PFAS exposure thresholds recommended in the European Union, and they question whether officials here are doing enough to identify and set safe standards for public health.

Working with the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association, the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility reported that another lab it hired had detected low levels of three PFAS compounds in oysters collected in September from county waters.

Kyla Bennett, PEER’s science policy director, disagreed with the MDE’s assurances that there’s little health risk. She contended that the state’s testing was too limited, both in scope and sensitivity, to reach such a conclusion.

‘I think we need to know more,’ she said…”