The EPA has issued new warnings about chemicals found in water supplies around the country that could cause cancer. The chemicals, used when factories produce items with stain resistant coatings, non-stick coatings on cookware and fireproof foam are known as PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctanesulfonate and Perfluorooctanoic acid) have been found in waterways as well as in humans who drink the water from those sources.
The new warnings come from the EPA revising the guidelines of how much is too much. While the chemicals are no longer used in the areas of the Tennessee River near Decatur, Alabama, they remain in the groundwater and over time, the levels have built up. 8 of the 13 water supplies nationwide that have been contaminated are in Alabama. Concern was raised because previous information only looked at the effects of short-term exposure. Given that the chemicals are still around, officials are concerned that long-term exposure could be more harmful. The environmental group Tennessee Riverkeeper intends to file suit to force improvements in wastewater treatment procedures and cleanup.