The groundwater of at least nine military installations close to the Chesapeake Bay is contaminated with high levels of the toxic fluorinated “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, according to Department of Defense records obtained by EWG.
The chemicals have seeped into the bay, adversely affecting its wildlife and potentially harming residents’ food supply and livelihoods. The contamination underscores the need for swift cleanup from DOD, which used these chemicals in firefighting foams for decades and knew of their harms.
New PFAS science
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania proposed using electronic health records to track the impact of PFAS exposure in Philadelphia. Penn Medicine looked at more than 3,000 women living in the Horsham-Warminster-Warrington communities, which have high PFAS detections, and found elevated levels of high cholesterol, colitis and thyroid diseases.
Two manufacturers, Zume and Solenis, designed a new process to provide oil and grease resistance in food containers without using PFAS. The new formula adjusted the fiber structure, molded the products at high pressure, and used an application of chemical coating that the companies describe as an environmentally friendly water-based polymer. The companies did not disclose information on their polymer coating in their report or on their websites.
Researchers at the University of Florida studied ticks from New York and Florida, testing their blood for 53 different PFAS compounds. The total PFAS concentration in ticks was the lowest at Newburgh, N.Y., a site that has been undergoing remediation efforts. The ticks collected from a site in Sweetwater, Fla., a wastewater treatment wetland, measured the highest total PFAS concentrations.
More studies are noting the presence of unidentified PFAS compounds. A new paper by Swedish researchers looked at samples from wastewater treatment plant effluent and sludge, finding that most concentrations of extractable organofluorine in the effluent and sludge could not be explained. Because the PFAS remain largely unknown, their potential health and environmental risks cannot be assessed.
More PFAS news
- A group of public health scientists used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare levels of the six most frequently detected PFAS in adults to determine national trends. They found higher blood concentrations of PFOS, PFHxS and PFNA among males than females. Black participants had higher detections of PFOS and PFNA than white participants. Detections of PFNA increased from 2000 to 2010.
- Researchers fed mice a PFAS mixture of eight different compounds for 10 weeks and looked at their dopamine levels and other hormones. They found lower brain dopamine levels and increased liver weight in male mice that were exposed to the PFAS when compared to the control.