‘Forever chemicals’ found in Chesapeake seafood and Maryland drinking water
By Timothy B. Wheeler | Bay Journal | November 17, 2020
Read the full article by Timothy B. Wheeler (Bay Journal)
“More testing has found so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in a striped bass, blue crab and oyster from the Chesapeake Bay, as well as in drinking water from household taps in Maryland’s Montgomery County.
Laboratory analyses released by the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility detected 16 different per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in the tissues of each type of seafood collected from Bay tributaries in Southern Maryland. Eleven different PFAS compounds were also detected in tapwater sampled from three homes in Montgomery County, the group reported.
Timothy Whitehouse, PEER’s executive director, called the findings a ‘red flag,’ saying, ‘PFAS should not be in our seafood or our drinking water.’
Ben Grumbles, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, called PEER’s results ‘troubling’ and said his staff wanted to know more about the group’s sampling.
PFAS are a group of more than 8,000 chemical compounds used in nonstick cookware, flame retardants, water-repellant and stain-resistant clothing and furniture, as well as in fire-fighting foams used at airports and military bases. They do not break down in the environment. They also spread easily through water and can build up in animals or organisms that ingest them, including people.
Exposures to PFAS have been associated with birth defects, damage to the liver and kidneys, and an elevated cancer risk. But PFAS in drinking water and food are not regulated at the federal level, and it’s not clear what the long-term health risks are of the levels detected in the PEER report.
The striped bass caught in a pound net in Cornfield Harbor near the mouth of the Potomac River had 23,100 parts per trillion (ppt) of nine different PFAS. The crab and oyster from St. Inigoes Creek, a tributary of the St. Mary’s River, had 6,650 ppt of eight PFAS and 2,070 ppt of five PFAS, respectively.
A handful of states with severe PFAS contamination problems have found high levels of the chemicals in wild fish and set fish consumption advisories, particularly for perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, one of the oldest and most frequently found types of PFAS…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.