Read the full article by Tracy Loew (Salem Statesman Journal)

“Oregon has just finished testing 140 drinking water systems across the state for PFAS, or per- and poly-fluorinated substances.

The results: Only five small systems had detectable levels of PFAS, and none exceeded the state’s health advisory level.

PFAS are referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ meaning they don’t break down in the environment or human body, and can accumulate over time.

Officials tested drinking water sources that were close to sites that either had PFAS use or PFAS contamination.

‘We wanted to identify sources at highest risk and sample those,’ said Kari Salis, a manager in the Oregon Health Authority’s Drinking Water Services program.

PFAS are a family of chemicals used since the 1940s for their heat-, moisture-, grease- and stain-resistant, as well as non-stick, qualities. They’re found in everyday items like non-stick pans, waterproof outerwear, food packaging and firefighting foam.

Growing evidence points to health effects including increased cholesterol levels, changes in liver enzymes, small decreases in infant birth weights, decreased vaccine response in children, increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s laboratory tested drinking water samples for 25 PFAS compounds, in partnership with OHA.” …