Read the full article by Frank Kummer (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

“PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ have been detected in 33 of 46 public water locations in Philadelphia’s suburban counties, or 72% of samples, although none exceeded totals of federally suggested limits, according to an Inquirer analysis of new state data.

Statewide, however, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found PFAS in only 35% of 114 sites tested in a broader sampling of 22 counties. Similarly, none of those exceeded the current EPA guideline of 70 parts per trillion, although some scientists contend there are no safe levels.

The Inquirer looked at results for Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties. The data indicate most PFAS samples were found in Bucks and Montgomery, though that was expected because of past contamination from military bases, and that’s where the state focused most of its effort.

Drinking water of residents living near the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster and Naval Air Station in Willow Grove was tainted by the ‘forever chemicals’ that leached off bases from firefighting foam.

No PFAS were detected in the Philadelphia Water Department system, although a small amount was found in a private system within the city. There was also some PFAS in Chester and Delaware Counties.

PFAS are a family of chemical compounds widely used to make coatings for products needing resistance to heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. They have been used for decades in clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant nonstick cooking surfaces, and wire insulation.

The compounds don’t break down, and accumulate over time in the human body. There is evidence they can affect human health.

The testing carried out in 2020 was part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order to address PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in public drinking water. The state focused most of its sampling on sources located within a half-mile of a potential source of contamination, such as military bases, fire training sites, landfills, and manufacturing facilities…”