Read the full article from Enrique Saenz (Indiana Environmental Reporter)

“State drinking water system testing has detected PFAS chemicals in the treated drinking water of at least two Indiana communities, according to limited preliminary results.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management found PFAS chemicals in both treated and untreated water at Indiana American Water’s Charlestown Water System in Clark County and the Morgan County Rural Water Corp.

PFAS chemicals were also detected in the untreated water at Hartford City Water Works in Blackford County and Aurora Utilities in Dearborn County.

The results are the first released by IDEM during the first phase of its PFAS community water system sampling project. The first phase tested community water systems that serve between 3,300 and 10,000 people for 18 PFAS chemicals.

The results do not indicate an immediate health risk to the members of the community where PFAS was found, but long-term exposure could result in some negative health effects.

PFAS chemicals have been used since the 1940s to produce industrial products resistant to water, oil, grease and stains. The products are mostly known by their brand names, like Teflon, Gore-Tex, Scotchgard and many others.

The chemicals have been called ‘forever chemicals’ due to their persistence, meaning they do not break down and instead accumulate in the human body and the environment. PFAS chemicals have been found in the blood of 97% of Americans.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to a series of adverse health conditions, including an increased risk of developing kidney and testicular cancer, increased blood cholesterol levels, increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia and decreased vaccine response in children.

The agency said none of the community water systems had results that were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s non-enforceable lifetime health advisories for PFOS and PFOA, a suggested limit on the two chemicals that serves as one of the only existing federal regulations on PFAS.

PFOS and PFOA are only two of thousands of PFAS chemicals. Other PFAS chemicals are largely unregulated in Indiana. The federal government only requires companies to report several dozen PFAS chemicals, leaving the public in the dark about chemicals that could be produced or used near them.

By some estimates, up to 200 million people in the U.S. could be receiving tap water tainted with at least low levels of PFAS.

PFAS chemicals have been found to travel from industrial facilities to groundwater and eventually into downstream drinking water.

study in North Carolina found that air and water emissions of PFAS chemicals from a Chemours Company facility made their way into groundwater near the facility and into five tributaries of the Cape Fear River. The PFAS made its way to the river, impacting downriver drinking water supplies and fish living in the river.

The Indiana communities where PFAS chemicals were detected are all downstream from potential industrial sources of PFAS chemical pollution.

Indiana American Water’s Charlestown Water System and Aurora Utilities are located near the Ohio River, long known as a dumping ground for unregulated PFAS chemicals from industrial sources upriver.

IDEM detected PFHxA, a PFAS chemical used on food packaging and household products, and PFOA, a PFAS chemical used to make Teflon and other products, in the Charlestown water system.

IDEM detected another PFAS chemical similar to PFOA, called PFNA, in untreated water used by Aurora Utilities.”…