“Forever Chemicals” Contaminate Water in California – Around 300 drinking water wells from 600 wells that were tested in California have been stated to be contaminated by the perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and polyfluoroalkyl (PFOA). These two chemicals are called as the “forever chemicals” since the chemicals will accumulate inside the body. The contaminated wells are located in Southern California, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. What’s the effect of the PFAS and PFOA? Well, consuming drinking water that is contaminated by these two chemicals can lead to kidney diseases and testicular cancer. It may also lead to thyroid disease and high cholesterol. Among the people groups, the most vulnerable groups are mothers and children.
How do the PFAS and PFOA contaminate the water well? These two chemicals have been used as the materials in the household product such as Teflon cookware, food packaging, and others. In addition, these chemicals are also used in the firefighting foam that can lead to the contamination of the groundwater. In California, these chemicals have leached into base drinking water supplies. On the other hand, there is no standard safe level of PFAS and PFOA. This condition will cause some problems in the regulation of the environment. However, since 2016, the health national agency has set the regulation that the public should be informed when the level of chemicals has reached 70 parts per trillion. If the level of chemicals is over the maximum level of the federal health advisory standard, the wells will be closed. There are several places that have a higher risk to be contaminated by these two chemicals such as an area around commercial airports, water supplies, wastewater treatment, and municipal landfills. In order to make sure the safety level of the water well, there should be a further test for the broad PFAS compounds.
However, since the water system in every region is different, they may need different treatments in order to maintain the safety level of the water. In addition, even though some wells in the area are contaminated by the contaminant, it doesn’t mean that all of the areas have the same level of the contaminant. Some of the contaminants can be diluted to decrease the concentration naturally. Based on the condition above, it will be better to test the water well thoroughly rather than close the well. In addition, preventing the contaminant routes and educate the people are also important.