Concerns have been raised at dozens of military bases across the US about water systems poisoned with perfluorinated compounds. In Colorado Springs, the military is being sued for perfluorinated compounds used in firefighting foam that have tainted the water, perhaps for decades.
But the problem is not limited to areas close to military installations. A 2007 study estimated that PFAS are in the blood of 98% of Americans. More than 1,500 drinking water systems in the US could be contaminated by PFAS, impacting more than 100 million people in at least 43 states.
Studies have found that certain PFAS may affect the development of children, cause learning and behavioral problems, affect women’s fertility, disrupt hormones, impact the immune system, and increase the risk of multiple cancers.
The chemicals are found in high levels around industrial sites, airports and military bases, but PFAS are used in many household products. They are found in food packaging, carpets, furniture, clothing and cookware.