Read the full article by Sharon Udasin (The Guardian)

“Tens of thousands of sites across the U.S. may be polluted with toxic so-called forever chemicals, a team of scientists argued in a study released on Wednesday.

The researchers said that in the absence of information proving otherwise, contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) should be presumed at 57,412 locations spread across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The areas in question include sites that discharge jet fuel firefighting foam, certain industrial facilities and places where waste contains these cancer-linked chemicals, according to the study, published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

‘PFAS contamination at these locations is very likely,’ senior author Alissa Cordner, co-director of the PFAS Project Lab at Northeastern University, said in a statement.

Known for their propensity to linger in the human body and in the environment, PFAS are linked to many illnesses, including testicular cancer, thyroid disease and kidney cancer.

These chemicals are notorious for their presence in aqueous film forming foam — the product used to fight jet fuel fires at military bases and airports. However, they are also found in industrial discharge and in a variety of household products.

Because testing for these substances is very sporadic, researchers have become aware of ‘many data gaps in identifying known sites of PFAS contamination,’ according to Cordner, who is also an associate professor of sociology at Whitman College.

Cordner and her colleagues — who come from a variety of academic and government institutions — developed a ‘presumptive contamination’ model that aggregates high-quality, publicly available data into a single, accessible map.

Their model, the authors explained, could be a critical tool to governments, industries and communities looking to identify potential exposure sources.” …