According to a news report on audacy.com, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a new review to determine what levels of a “likely carcinogen” is acceptable in drinking water supplies. The chemical is called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAO), and it was most commonly used in making polytetrafluoroethylene. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic resin that is marketed under brand names such as Teflon, Hostaflon, Polyfon, and Fluon. Unfortunately, perfluorooctanoic acid is a “forever chemical,” meaning that the chemical never breaks down.
Trace levels of the dangerous substance have been detected in the blood of over 98% of Americans. In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released reports that state perfluorooctanoic acid probably causes cancer in humans. The EPA also stated that its analysis and new data show that the toxic values for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAS) are drastically lower than previously understood. The EPA now states that the safe level of exposure to these two chemicals is almost zero and that any level of exposure could cause negative health consequences.
Scott Bartell, a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, reported that those who consumed no more than the EPA’s previous levels acceptable for drinking water versus those who consumed zero amounts of the chemicals were at a 60% greater risk of developing kidney cancer. Some experts believe that their children are already seeing the negative health consequences of prenatal or postnatal exposure to PFOA. Some experts believe PFO a and PFOS chemicals are already harming the population.
PFOS and PFOA chemicals are only two types of more than 200 PFAS that are being used and that are in the environment. There are some researchers that have found PFAS chemicals to be toxic while these chemicals are being studied.
Kyle Steeland, an Epidemiologist at Emory University in Georgia, along with his colleagues, has connected PFOA exposure to medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, kidney disease, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and testicular cancer. Another research study has connected PFOA to low birthweight in newborns.
A board of scientist still need to peer review the EPA’s documents concerning PFOA and other related chemicals. Once this has been completed, the EPA will determine a new safe level for these chemicals in U.S. drinking water supplies. The new legislation would also be required to change existing shrinking water requirements. The law is expected to be passed in 2023. The EPA stated that it would work quickly to update all of its health advisories.
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