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Environmental Groups Say Potential Of PFAS In EPA Maps Concerning, Want More Testing

John Smith

Environmental Groups say new data in maps released by the EPA following a lawsuit shows an estimated 3,500 industrial facilities in the State that could pose dangerous health impacts and water contamination. Citizens Campaign for the Environment and PEER say chemicals known as PFAS don’t have the ability to break down, posing risks to the environment and to human health. Science Policy Director of PEER, Kyla Bennett says there are many ways humans can be exposed to the chemicals.

"There are three exposure pathways to PFAS. Through drinking water and food, through inhalation when things are incinerated, but also through dermal absorption. So, it’s a frightening map," said Bennett.

The maps are color coded by industry and show potential areas of concern in Onondaga County. The Associate Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Brian Smith believes that industries which remain untested for PFAS is of real concern.

"Communities that sit directly on the shore of the Great Lakes, and we know of facilities that use PFAS, as Kyla said, have the potential to pollute local water supplies. Not a guarantee, but a potential," said Smith. "So as we invest billions of dollars in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes and cleaning up legacy pollution from the past, we cannot simultaneously add new chemical threats, particularly forever chemicals, to the Great Lakes."

The EPA website defines the chemicals as being “found in many different consumer, commercial and industrial products” making it “challenging to study and assess the potential to human health and environmental risks.” The groups are calling on Governor Hochul to sign legislation that would ban all non-essential uses of PFAS in production and require additional testing.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.