From Alaska to Florida, harmful PFAS compounds pollute water at multiple sites in every state

Wherever you are in the U.S., there’s a good chance you can find harmful PFAS compounds in water near you.

Photo courtesy of James Willamor from Wikimedia, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Breast cancer survivor Tom Kennedy became an active advocate for stiffer PFAS regulations after the chemicals were found in the river that supplies his drinking water. Photo courtesy of Tom Kennedy.
PFAS have been used for decades in such common items as cookware and food wrappers. © | woottigon | ia_64
PFAS are contaminating soils and water across the United States. Copyright © Environmental Working Group, Reproduced with permission.
Out of 44 drinking water samples it tested last year, the Environmental Working Group found PFAS at concerning levels in 41. Copyright © Environmental Working Group, Reproduced with permission.

A big part of the challenge is that PFAS is considered an emerging contaminant and is, therefore, not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The use of PFAS in firefighting foam has resulted in extensive environmental contamination across the U.S., particularly on or near military bases. Photo © | kzenon

“What we know for sure is we were exposed. What we don’t know is what sort of lasting health impact that has on us as a community” — Emily Donovan | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.

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