From State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 10:06 a.m. Corrected version sent Tuesday, Oct. 19, 4:52 p.m.
Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are teaming up on a project to monitor small public drinking water systems throughout the state for the presence of PFAS – a group of chemicals that are becoming a nationwide health concern.
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The two agencies have begun analyzing water samples from about 150 public drinking water systems that each serve fewer than 10,000 people and check for evidence of PFAS contamination. The systems were identified as potentially at risk because of their proximity to a known or suspected PFAS use or contamination site. The purpose of the monitoring project is to make sure customers are not being exposed to potentially harmful PFAS chemicals in their water.
OHA will share results with the water systems and provide technical assistance if PFAS are detected. OHA has established a health advisory level for four PFAS compounds at 30 parts per trillion.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS, are a group of thousands of different chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of commercial products since the 1940s – from everyday household items to firefighting foam – due to their heat, moisture and stain resistance, and non-stick qualities.These chemicals do not break down in the environment or human body and can accumulate over time.There is evidence that exposure to certain PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.