Read the full article by Conrad Swanson (The Denver Post)
“More than a hundred drinking water sources across Colorado — ranging from cities and counties to elementary schools and campgrounds — contain what are now considered to be potentially hazardous levels of PFAS, toxic ‘forever chemicals’ linked to a slew of health problems, data from 2020 shows.
And many more drinking water sources across the state are probably similarly contaminated but haven’t yet been tested, experts say, which is cause for concern and immediate action.
Not only should water officials in Colorado and the rest of the country, ramp up testing efforts but they should also invest in new ways to clean drinking water, pinpoint contamination sources and cut out products that use the harmful compounds.
‘There’s really no safe level of these chemicals,’ Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences told The Denver Post.
PFAS, a broad chemical group containing thousands of different specific compounds, are linked to cancer, birth defects, diabetes and autoimmune problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency sharply reduced its health advisory levels for the chemicals last month. Those levels are meant as a preliminary warning while the EPA develops more formal and enforceable regulations for the compounds.
Previously acceptable levels for two types of chemicals, one called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and another called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), sat at 70 parts per trillion. But on June 15 the EPA lowered those levels to .004 parts per trillion for PFOA and .02 parts per trillion for PFOS.
For context, 1 part per trillion amounts to a single drop of chemicals in 500,000 barrels of water, Thornton officials said in a release.
Federal officials recommend that any water provider with PFAS concentrations higher than those trace amounts should notify their customers, EPA spokesman Rich Mylott said. But that notification isn’t specifically required, Mylott said.
A round of state-funded PFAS tests in 2020 showed that more than 100 public drinking water sources in Colorado have concentrations of the chemicals. Under the EPA’s old standard of 70 parts per trillion, most of those sources fell well below the federal health advisory level. Under the EPA’s new standards, however, none of them do.”…