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Update: Congressional PFAS Hearings and the Threat to Local & National Water Supplies

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Minnesota and Virginia State Attorneys suing PFAS manufacturers for hiding the information they knew for the past 20 years to the present about hazardous  PFAS, and executives from the manufacturers 3M, Dupont and Chemours (a DuPont spinoff company) testified before a Senate Oversight Committee September 10, 2019 about what they knew and when they knew about the dangerous chemicals, new regulations, and how to notify the public and clean up contaminated sites. 

According to internal scientific research documents the companies knew that PFSAs were a problem as early as the 1960s but continued manufacturing, selling, and even expanding operations due, according to one internal memo, because of the billions in lost profit if they were discontinued and against the advice of their own scientists and attorneys.

Especially serious are areas surrounding manufacturing sites and military sites where the chemicals show up in extreme amounts thousands of times higher than the currently stated EPA action level, according to internal data from the three companies themselves, obtained through freedom of information act.

Bio-consistant long chain chemicals under the PFSA category are currently known to be of serious problem. The responsible companies have all lobbied against tough regulation, taking responsibility for past contamination, and EPA designation of all long chain PFSA as hazardous substances under the Superfund category. Without the EPA designation the cost of clean up will fall on the taxpayer rather than the companies.

To watch the hearing visit  “The Devil They Knew: PFAS Contamination & Need for Corporate Accountability.”  https://oversight.house.gov/legislation/hearings/the-devil-they-knew-pfas-contamination-and-the-need-for-corporate-0

What are health concerns?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates some studies in humans have shown that certain PFAS may affect the developing fetus and child, including pos- sible changes in growth, learning and behavior, decrease fertility and interfere with the body’s natural hormones, increase cholesterol, affect the immune system, and increase cancer risk.

For more on this visit https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html

What is Fullerton Doing About the Situation?

Fullerton Infrastructure and Natural Resources committee member Mark Shapiro said that “there are four production wells in the south-east part Fullerton that may be affected by new state regulations for PFAS and related contaminants. At its most recent meeting, Fullerton’s Infrastructure and Natural Resources Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend reallocating $250,000 from one of the storage facility upgrades scheduled to be done with funds from the recent water rate increase to the reactivation of a Metropolitan Water District connection in the southeastern section of the city in case those four well have to be taken out of service. That particular MWD connection has been out of service for about 40 years.

“The city also is investigating adding extra filtration (activated charcoal or reverse osmosis) to remove PFAS and related chemicals from the water supply. Both techniques are very effective for removal of those contaminants, as well as for removing volatile organic compounds. The major issue is whether this can be done at a lower cost than purchasing MWD water. (Note that MWD water tests below the detection limits for PFAS and related chemicals.)”

For more information on this topic and how it affects Orange County residents including Fullerton see the article on front page of the Mid-September Fullerton Observer at www.fullertonobserver.com (under E-Editions tab).

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