[Opinion] Urgent action needed to protect Alaskans’ health, drinking water
By Pamela Miller | Anchorage Daily News | April 14, 2021
Read the full article by Pamela Miller (Anchorage Daily News)
“On April 7, the Alaska Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the 3M Company, DuPont and dozens of other major chemical corporations. The lawsuit seeks damages for the harm to Alaska’s waters and lands caused by toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). On the same day, state Sen. Jesse Kiehl introduced Senate Bill 121, a bill that would require greater protections for communities in preventing and addressing PFAS contamination, including setting of enforceable drinking water standards for a number of PFAS, as well as requirements for polluters to pay for safe drinking water and blood tests for people affected by PFAS contamination.
In Alaska, the dispersive use of PFAS-based industrial firefighting foams on military bases and airports has contaminated the drinking water of communities from the North Slope to Southeast Alaska. PFAS have been found at over 100 individual sites in nearly 30 locations across Alaska. Ten Alaska communities have PFAS in their drinking water at levels deemed unsafe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it is likely that the number of communities with contaminated water will grow as more sampling is conducted throughout the state.
PFAS are a complex group of nearly 5,000 synthetic chemicals used in industrial applications such as firefighting foams and in-home products including non-stick pots and pans, as well as for stain and water resistance in apparel, carpets, furniture, personal care products, and in food packaging.
Why should we all be paying attention? Because PFAS chemicals are highly persistent and toxic at exceedingly low levels of exposure. PFAS have been linked with harmful health effects including immune suppression, decreased fertility, kidney and testicular cancer, increased risk of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, and increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS can reduce the effectiveness of certain vaccines. Scientists have expressed concern that PFAS exposure weakens the immune system, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer worse outcomes from COVID-19…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.