Watchdog organization finds toxic chemicals in US drinking water, including Memphis

Watchdog organization finds toxic chemicals in US drinking water, including Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new study found potentially toxic chemicals in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including Memphis.

A watchdog organization called the Environmental Working Group tested water samples for PFAS, known as “forever chemicals.”

They’re man-made, industrial chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or in the human body.

Health experts believe exposure to PFAS can increase the risk of cancer, birth defects and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in children.

PFAS exposure has also been linked to high cholesterol and obesity.

EWG says it took water samples from 44 cities and counties in 31 states and the District of Columbia between May and December of 2019.

They analyzed all the samples, including the one taken from MLGW’s tap water, for 30 different PFAS chemicals.

The report, released this week, shows some of the highest levels of PFAS were found in major metropolitan areas including Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Some of the lowest, but still concerning levels, were found in Jackson, Mississippi, Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.

The MLGW sample showed PFAS detected at 1 ppt, one part per trillion, which is EWG’s threshold for safe drinking water. The EPA limit is 70 ppt.

MLGW spokesperson Stacey Greenberg sent WMC Action News 5 the following statement when asked about the results of the EWG report:

“Currently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing analytical methods, maximum contaminates levels (MCLs) for PFAS and reviewing the health risk associated with PFAS. The EPA non-enforceable health advisory level is 70 parts per trillion. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) sampling referenced in the USA Today “PFAS toxic forever chemicals found in drinking water throughout US” article, Memphis tested at 1 parts per trillion, far below the EPA advisory level. MLGW is actively monitoring the development of regulations and treatment options concerning PFAS.”

MLGW publishes an annual Water Quality Report. You can view it here.

And to read the entire EWG PFAS in Drinking Water study, click here.

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