Read/listen to the full interview by Mitch Wertlieb and Matthew F. Smith (Vermont Public Radio)

“PFAS chemicals are a group of synthetic substances that were once found in everyday items like nonstick cookware, carpets and food packaging. But the so-called “forever chemicals” don’t break down naturally and are believed to linger indefinitely in the environment, with the potential to cause serious health problems, including cancer.

When the chemicals were detected in Lake Memphremagog last fall, it set off alarm bells on both the Vermont and Canadian shores of the lake. Now the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is undertaking extensive testing for the chemicals starting this summer.

VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Barton Chronicle reporter Sylvia Dodge about her latest article — “Extensive Testing For PFAS In Memphremagog To Start.” Their conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Mitch Wertlieb: Let’s start with what’s new here. What is Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation planning to do this summer when it comes to testing for PFAS chemicals?

Sylvia Dodge: Well, they hope to start by July 20, although I’ve been told that it may be a little later than that. And it’s a three-pronged testing that will take place three times. So they plan to test five species of fish, they plan to test on the Vermont-side lake water in three different places — near Newport, near the Canadian border, and somewhere in the middle — and then they also plan to test in the various tributaries on the Vermont side of the lake.'”…