Read the full article by Christine Legere (The Provincetown Independent)

“Testing for the presence of PFAS — compounds linked to a broad array of harmful health effects — is set to begin in Wellfleet and Truro. The testing is part of a program being offered by the state’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Massachusetts began to regulate PFAS only last fall.

The DEP program focuses on 84 communities where more than 60 percent of residents are served by private wells. That’s because PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been found to seep into soils, groundwater, and surface water.

Known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they never completely degrade, these compounds are manmade and date back to the 1950s. They are present in some of the foams firefighters use to put out flammable liquid fires, in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting, and many other everyday items.

According to the DEP website, studies indicate that sufficiently elevated levels of PFAS have harmful effects on fetuses and infants, the thyroid, liver, kidneys, certain hormones, and the immune system. Some studies also link PFAS to cancer.

Well water tests have already been completed in about half the participating towns across the state. With 420 private well results in, so far 95 percent are below the standard the state has set for public drinking water — that is 20 parts per trillion of the six forms of PFAS the DEP is focusing on — according to Edmund Coletta, the DEP’s director of public affairs.

PFAS have been found in towns on the Upper Cape that border Joint Base Cape Cod, and in Hyannis, because of the firefighter training academy there.”…