Flint, Michigan is notorious for having their unpotable drinking water. 1 in 54 Americans are being poisoned by the water that they drink. The level of fluoride content in the water has reached dangerous heights.
The chemicals that have come under the greatest scrutiny and have been most studied are now being linked to a list of health problems. High cholesterol, thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer are only a few of the conditions that are appearing now.
The fluoride used to sterilize drinking water is the same chemical that can be found in furniture and carpet as well as cosmetics, food packaging and firefighting foam. All the chemicals that come out of manufactured facilities or are created as a byproduct in factories find their way into the environmentn and eventually our bodies.
Director of the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health, Patrick Breysse, has labeled the pandemic, “one of the most seminal public health challenges for the next decades.” Some scientists have gone so far as to suggest our government is carrying out an unintended experiment on the people of the united states (Dr. Strangelove?).
The Eurofins Eaton Analytical laboratories had done some initial studies for the Environmental Protection Agency. Some estimates show that the contaminated drinking water may be impacting up to a quarter of the nation’s water systems. With 28% of the nation’s water showing signs of toxicity, 6 million Americans are in danger.
Eaton said he believes part of the issue began in 2013. The EPA at the time was primarily worried about PFOS contamination above 200 ppt, and PFOA above 400 ppt, as those were temporary health advisory levels at the time. But in 2016, the EPA created a new, much lower advisory level: 70 ppt combined.
This dropped the permitted amount safely allowed by an eighth. First, the 70 ppt safety level is precariously close to the 60 ppt detection level the EPA used for its study. Second, there were four other perfluorinated compounds considered in the EPA program, and each was analyzed separately.
Detection of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in U.S. drinking water are compounded by industrial sites, military fire training areas, and wastewater treatment plants. Thirty-nine leading scientists and physicians signed a letter, which was sent to legislators on key committees in the House and Senate. The letter was also sent to legislators of impacted regions to draw attention to the pollution of drinking water with these chemicals. The Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration also received this letter, because firefighting foams used at military bases and airports are responsible for a major share of the contamination.
The response to immediate threats such as in Flint, Michigan, has been lackluster to say the least. The government seems unable to produce an adequate reaction to the widespread issues of plaguing the nation.
A small step that has been taken by Congress was to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill passed both the House and Senate last week allocating $7 million to begin a 5-year long health study of communities afflicted by the firefighting chemicals. The legislation would also establish the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of exposure to highly fluorinated chemicals from drinking water.
Another provision in the bill apportions $72 million to be added to the Air Force and Navy’s budget to be used for environmental restoration and cleaning impacted areas.
The NDAA also takes additional steps to prevent future contamination. Certain chemical and aviation fires must be put out using the fluorinated foams as per Department of Defense rule referred to as the Milspec. Thanks to the NDAA the Department of Defense is now required to submit reports and develop new materials and methods to fight fires.
These foams are required to be phased out and replaced within 6 months. Unfortunately, the newer variety of foams currently in use are also highly fluorinated. New foams must be developed to replace the materials the military will be switching to because the ecological and health impact is no different.
Oil drilling platforms and airports across the world are capable of using fluorine-free foams. As soon as the Department of Defense can change their Mil-spec rule, domestic airports can make the switch.
The EPA will consider occurrence data along with health effects information to determine whether or not to initiate the process to develop stronger regulations; a decision is expected in 2021.