Toxic Chemicals in Waterways
PFAS chemicals are a class of chemicals used to make products grease proof, water-proof, stick-proof, and stain-resistant. PFAS is in everything from clothing to pots and pans, even food packaging. PFAS chemicals damage the immune system and have been linked to a litany of cancer and neurological problems.
PFAS chemicals have been dubbed “forever chemicals”, because they are extremely persistent, lasting thousands of years. Every American tested has PFAS in their blood. That’s a problem because very small doses of PFAS increase the risk of a wide variety of health problems, including kidney and testicular cancer, liver problems, high cholesterol, and immunosuppression.
PFAS impacts groundwater and is extremely difficult to clean up when it reaches the environment. In 2020, we helped pass legislation to determine the current levels of PFAS contamination in public drinking water. However, the General Assembly appropriated only $60,000 in fiscal year 2022 for the Virginia Department of Health to continue its study of the occurrence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and other PFAS in the Commonwealth’s public drinking water and to develop recommendations for specific maximum contaminant levels.