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New Map Shows Explosion of Fluorinated Chemical Contamination


The non-profit Environmental Working Group and a team of environmental health researchers at Northeastern University in Boston developed the map, which tracks publicly-known contaminated sites reported from both EPA testing and state and local agencies.

In the 10 months since the map was first published, the number of sites has exploded. Last February, researchers knew of 52 sites in 19 states. Today, they know of 94 sites in 22 states that report the presence of these chemicals, which are linked to cancer, thyroid disease and other health problems.


Much of the newly noted activity came from Michigan. Communities there are dealing with contamination from 3M's Scotchgard fabric protector used by shoemaker Wolverine World Wide.

Martinsburg in the Eastern Panhandle of West Viriginia, was the only site in the Ohio Valley researchers added during this update.

Bill Walker, an investigative editor with the Environmental Working Group, says the list is by no means exhaustive and many more communities are likely affected.

“Every place that has gone looking for it systematically, with any reason at all to suspect they might have contamination, has found it. So, that’s why we’re confident in saying that we’re nowhere near the end of knowing the true scope of this problem.” 

Walker says EPA could do more. The agency does not track contaminated sites. It has issued both short long-term advisories on suggested exposure levels, but has not set set a national legal limit for C-8 in drinking water.

EPA will host a national leadership summit on C-8 contamination next month in Washington, D.C.

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