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PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ are pervasive in water worldwide, study finds

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

Illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: A comprehensive study analyzing over 45,000 water samples globally reveals that PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals," are found in significant quantities in both groundwater and surface water worldwide, even far from known contamination sources

🔭 The context: PFAS are used in a wide array of products for their resistance to water, oil, and heat
• These chemicals are extremely persistent in the environment, leading to widespread contamination
• The study, published in Nature Geoscience, underscores the ubiquitous presence of PFAS, raising concerns over their long-term ecological and health impacts

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: PFAS contamination poses a significant threat to global water safety, affecting human health and ecosystems 
• With their persistent nature, these chemicals represent a daunting challenge for environmental cleanup and management, emphasizing the need for stringent regulatory measures and the search for safer alternatives

⏭️ What's next: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce new drinking water regulations for PFAS, which could set some of the strictest standards worldwide
• Meanwhile, efforts to find alternatives for PFAS-containing products are gaining momentum, but the widespread contamination highlights the critical need for preventive measures against future chemical pollution

💬 One quote: "It’s incredibly difficult to clean them up, if not impossible in many cases,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, underscoring the challenge of removing PFAS from the environment once they have been released.

📈 One stat: Approximately 31% of groundwater samples and 16% of surface water samples tested worldwide, away from known sources of contamination, contained harmful levels of PFAS, according to the EPA's health advisories.

Click for more news covering the latest on Pollution

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