Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US

Andrea Amico (center) joined with Michelle Dalton (left) and Alayna Davis to form a community group seeking tests of those who drank PFAS-polluted water, including their children, at a redeveloped Air Force base. Credit: AP

The EPA faces legal and other hurdles as it attempts to regulate PFOA and PFOS

An article in the local newspaper caught Andrea Amico’s eye in May 2014. It reported that one of the three drinking-water wells at a sprawling business and industrial park nearby was shut down because of high levels of chemical contamination.

“Instantly, my heart sank,” says the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, woman. Amico recalls her reaction to the news: “My husband works there and he drinks water all day, and my two kids go to daycare there and they drink water all day.”

She’d never heard of the substances tainting the tap water—Portsmouth was one of the first communities in the US to discover these chemicals in public drinking water. Amico, who holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy and works in health care, started researching health effects from these contaminants and at first found little information.

Today, the situation has changed.

Amico now knows the identity of the chemicals found at the facility, the Pease Tradeport, built on the site of the former Pease Air Force Base after it closed in 1991. She confidently tosses out the term “ per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ” (PFAS), which describes this class of compounds. She easily describes the strong carbon-fluorine bonds the chemical industry forges […]

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Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US
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Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US
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An article caught Andrea Amico's eye. It reported a near drinking-water well at a business and industrial park was shut down due to chemical contamination.
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Chemical and Engineering News
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