Nationwide PFAS Study finds no toxic “forever chemicals” in surface waters around Maysville
Earlier this year the Town of Maysville was found to have high levels of PFAS in their ground water and drinking water. This summer our White Oak Waterkeeper collected surface water samples around the town to identify if any of these toxic chemicals may also be in their surrounding waters of the White Oak River.
PFAS are a group of chemicals that are used in non-stick cookware, stain repellent, waterproof coatings, and many other manufacturing processes. These “forever chemicals” do not break down over time and instead accumulate in people, wildlife, and the environment. PFAS have been found in surface water, air, soil, food, and many commercial materials. PFAS are widely linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, liver and kidney disease, reproductive issues, immunodeficiencies, and hormonal disruptions.
PHOTOS: RIDER, 2022 – Becca Drohan (left) and three Duke University Engage Students (right)
Last week, Waterkeeper Alliance released a groundbreaking new analysis of American waterways that sounds the alarm on a PFAS pollution emergency. In a test of 114 waterways from across the country, 83% were found to contain at least one type of PFAS. In the samples taken by Coastal Carolina Riverwatch in the White Oak River, we found that the surface waters around Maysville NC did not have any detectable levels of PFAS. Ready more – click here.
When sharing the results of our sampling, the Town Manager of Maysville, Schumata Brown, said that he is “relieved to know that the contamination is not being found in the surface waters.”
The Town of Maysville has closed their drinking water well for the town and are currently receiving water from Jones County municipal water. The town has recently received a combined $6 million for infrastructure updates, including a new well and water treatment system. Mr. Brown let us know that the “updates should be completed and running by the early summer of 2023″.
PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS
In some places, like creeks connected to the Potomac River in Maryland, the Lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, and the Niagara River in New York, the level of contamination is thousands to hundreds of thousands times higher than what experts say is safe for drinking water. This is of particular concern as an estimated 65% of Americans source their drinking water from surface waters similar to those sampled.
Despite serious health risks, there are currently no universal, science-based limits on the various PFAS chemicals in the United States. For many PFAS chemicals, the EPA has not even set a health advisory limit that would give the public a baseline to determine what amount of PFAS is unhealthy in drinking water. In most cases, the EPA is not doing adequate monitoring for these chemicals, which is why these findings are so unique and important.