Read the full article by James Ochoa (TapintoRidgewood)

“RIDGEWOOD, NJ – Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals used in manufacturing consumer and industrial products that have been linked to several health issues. Known as ‘forever chemicals’ because of their inability to break down in nature, elevated levels have been reported in Ridgewood Water dating back to at least 2017

Ridgewood Water reports elevated Perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) continued into the third quarter of 2022—exceeding the safe limits set by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. People who are immunocompromised, pregnant, the elderly and small children—especially those who are breastfeeding and on formula—are at higher risk of health complications associated with PFAS and should not drink Ridgewood tap water.

According to Ridgewood Water, 20 out of the 24 active water treatment plants operated by Ridgewood Water have PFOA levels well above the 14 ppt limit in drinking water set by the NJDEP. Samples collected from the plants showed a range of PFOA levels of 18 to 30 ppt. Only two plants have exceeded the limits for PFOS of 13 ppt, with the two in violation showing levels of 17 and 16 ppt.

In comparison, data provided by Ridgewood Water in 2021 stated that 19 out of the 23 active water treatment plants operated by Ridgewood Water have exceeded limits the 14 ppt limit for PFOA and had sample ranges of 15.6 ppt to 26 ppt, while only one plant of the 23 exceeded the 13 ppt limit of PFOA, showing a level of 14.2 ppt.

PFOA/PFOS were first used in the manufacturing of products that would resist damage to surfaces from oils, grease and water. Notable products include Gore-Tex, a fabric used in waterproof clothing, and Teflon, a coating used in nonstick cookware. PFOA/PFOS are also used in many commercial and industrial applications such as fire suppressant foam and food containers like to-go wrappers, pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags.

It is unclear precisely how PFOA/PFOS got into Ridgewood Water, but the problem is not unique to the village. PFAS have been found in water systems all over the nation and across the globe. Scientists attribute the chemicals’ presence in drinking water to the degradation of the chemical from the manufacture, use and disposal of consumer and commercial products that contain PFAS.” …