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Test of public drinking water reveals no excessive levels of PFAS chemicals

Planned water outages in Mount Vernon this weekend
Posted at 2:46 PM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 14:46:08-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Department of the Environment on Thursday released results of testing that sampled chemicals in public drinking water known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

The report details samples taken from 65 public water systems across the state.

It found no instances of levels exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current health advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of the two most studied PFAS compounds.

The sampling did show two drinking water systems with levels between 35 and 70 ppt and one other system with a level between 28 and 35 ppt

Currently, there are no enforceable federal regulatory drinking water standards for PFAS, however one could be finalized late next year.

In July 2021 the agency released a report from it first phase of sampling, which included 66 community drinking water systems that serve about 4.3 million people. About 70% of the state’s population has now been sampled.

PFAS refers to thousands of human-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s in a range of products, including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints, cookware, food packaging and fire-fighting foams. These uses have led to PFAS entering the environment, where they have been measured by several states in soil, surface water, groundwater and seafood. Most people have been exposed to PFAS because of their use in so many common consumer goods. There is evidence that exposure to certain PFAS — PFOA and PFOS — may lead to adverse health effects in humans.

Sampling for the third phase sampling began last August, and is expected to continue through late spring 2022.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is also evaluating PFAS levels in recreationally caught fish and blue crabs.