WASHINGTON (SBG) — Toxic “forever” chemicals are seeping into the water Americans drink every day. The more we learn about the potential health impacts of these chemicals, the more serious the problem becomes. As the EPA takes bold steps to try to limit PFAS contamination, Spotlight on America conducted a series of exclusive lab tests and discovered just how widespread the contamination of America’s water system is.
The PFAS Problem
You can’t see or taste them, but there are more than 12,000 chemicals that could be lurking in your drinking water, causing everything from birth defects to cancer. Broadly known as PFAS, short for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, these are dangerous man-made toxins that never break down, build up in our blood and organs, and could damage the health of millions.
PFAS originated in the 1940s, when the DuPont company introduced nonstick cookware coated with Teflon using the chemicals. 3M would later become a lead manufacturer of products containing PFAS, touted for being non-stick, stain repellent and waterproof. They would also contribute to a public health crisis we are still seeing develop today. Because PFAS chemicals are so durable, they don’t break down. They’re often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they’re nearly impossible to eliminate from the environment. They also accumulate in our body from a variety of sources.