HEALTH

Researchers find “forever chemicals” in U.S. tap water

Jul 9, 2023, 9:00 AM

Residents in three areas of Bountiful City were faced with overnight water trouble on Tuesday. But...

Residents in three areas of Bountiful City were faced with overnight water trouble on Tuesday. But by Tuesday afternoon, officials said the issues had been resolved (Tom Baker)

(Tom Baker)

SALT LAKE CITY — Half of the tap water in the United States could contain “forever chemicals.”  

However, ABC News correspondent Jim Ryan told KSL NewsRadio that only certain areas of the nation have reason to be concerned. 

 

What are forever chemicals?

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a whole class of manmade chemicals called the “forever chemicals.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said these companies use these chemicals to make coatings for products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS are in many different household products like furniture, clothing, and cooking appliances. Ryan said we have accurately deemed these chemicals as “forever” because they stay around for a long time in the environment and in our bodies.

Ryan said in the U.S. Environment Protection Agency‘s nationwide check, they found about 12,000 types of PFAS.

“Only 32 of those candidate compounds are picked up by lab tests,” he explained. “So there are many more that may be out there in the environment we just don’t really know about yet.”

Should Utahns be concerned?

The U.S. Geological Survey found that at least 45% of the nation’s tap water is contaminated with PFAS. But are the levels high enough to evoke concern?

Ryan said the level itself isn’t the issue, it’s the length of exposure. Therefore, if these chemicals happen to be in your drinking supply for years, that’s when possible negative reactions began to take effect. 

“(PFAS have) been linked to things like cancer, obesity, thyroid disease… high cholesterol, even decreased fertility among men,” he said. 

Luckily for Utah, Ryan said the chemicals are not common in the Northwest. 

“When it comes to forever chemicals, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, those places are all fairly clear,” he said. 

PFAS detections in point-of-use tapwater collected from public-supply (blue circles) and private-wells (green triangles) across the United States including Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands. (U.S. Geological Survey)

Ryan said hotspots for PFAS detections sit around “a lot of East Coast places a lot of the Upper Midwest, those places where industrialization really took hold in the early 20th century.” 

“So you know, I think those folks in the Pacific Northwest,” he continued. “As an accident of geography, aren’t having such a problem with this.”

Related Reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

(Canva)...

Heather Peterson

Program connects those who suffered mental health illnesses to employers

SALT LAKE CITY — A sector of Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services is connecting those who have suffered from mental health illnesses with employers to aid in their recovery. With Individual Placement and Support (IPS) offices across the state, they help those who have suffered from mental health crises or a co-occurring substance […]

21 hours ago

Orem resident Georgia Burt Presnell celebrated her 105th birthday on Friday. (Emma Everett Johnson)...

Emma Everett Johnson, KSL.com

Orem resident turns 105, has some advice for young people

"I don't feel 105, but I look it," she joked, addressing a crowd of family and friends who were there to celebrate her.

5 days ago

Adam Benicosa next to his mail truck...

Jessica Lowell

Mailman considered a hero after helping a woman who fell

A Roy mailman is being considered a mailman hero after helping a woman who fell while attempting to pull a weed in her yard.

6 days ago

Twenty-three-year-old Brigham Young University student Jack Walker, has been active his entire life...

Britt Johnson

“Diving intervention”: BYU student survives, recovers after suffering heart attack at marathon

A 23-year-old BYU student suffered a heart attack this weekend at the Utah Valley Marathon. He called his survival "divine intervention"

7 days ago

university of utah health hospital shown, workers are starting a union...

Mariah Maynes

University of Utah Hospital to provide employee parking stipends

According to the University of Utah, it will begin providing parking stipends to employees who work on its main hospital campus on July 1.

9 days ago

FILE: From June 1 through 7, The American Red Cross of Utah is recognizing the 17th anniversary of ...

KARAH BRACKIN, KSL TV

Red Cross encourages everyone to learn CPR

For the 17th anniversary of National CPR and AED Awareness Week, the American Red Cross wants to encourage all Utahns to learn CPR.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Researchers find “forever chemicals” in U.S. tap water