Read the full article by Tom Perkins (The Guardian)

“Most of America’s waterways are likely contaminated by toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’, a new study conducted by US water keepers finds.

The Waterkeeper Alliance analysis found detectable PFAS levels in 95 out of 114, or 83%, of waterways tested across 34 states and the District of Columbia, and frequently at levels that exceed federal and state limits.

‘The results clearly show widespread PFAS contamination across the country and demonstrate that existing laws and regulations are inadequate for protecting us,’ said Marc Yaggi, CEO of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit network that represents local ‘water keepers’ who monitor watersheds throughout the country for pollution.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals often used to make products resist water, stain and heat. They are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t naturally break down, and are linked to cancer, liver problems, thyroid issues, birth defects, kidney disease, decreased immunity and other serious health problems.

Previous analyses have used municipal utility data to estimate that the chemicals are contaminating drinking water for over 200 million people, while another study found widespread contamination of groundwater drawn by private and municipal wells.

Lax regulation allows industrial users to discharge the chemicals into the environment largely unchecked, though some states and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are taking steps to begin tracking them. Landfills, airports, military bases, paper mills and wastewater treatment plants are among common sources.” …