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US Environmental Protection Agency Identifies Sites Hosting Over 120,000 Toxic Chemicals

Facilities over 120,000 have been identified hosting a class of deadly chemicals around the US sites. ‘Forever chemicals’ are linked to various severe medical conditions such as cancer. This is an alarming rate as it is four times higher than the previous report, according to the data from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gathered by the Guardian in a news report.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industries since the 1940s. They are very resilient in the surroundings and the human body, which means they do not deteriorate and can accumulate over time. There is evidence that PFAS exposure can have adverse effects on human health. People can be exposed to contaminated drinking water, food, and air, as well as contact with commercial products made with PFAS.

Clover Flat Landfill in Calistoga, California, Have Confirmed the Presence of PFAS Chemicals (Photo: Brian Lilla/The Guardian)

All Parts Of US Were Affected

No remote part of the US is free from the potential risk of the chemicals; the list of facilities obtained showed conclusively. These facilities may have exposed people to water and air contaminants. The total by far outnumbers the previous analysis, which revealed 29,900 industrial sites known or suspected of producing or using toxic chemicals.

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The EPA estimates Colorado has the highest number of facilities with 21,400 numbers, followed by California with 13,000 and Oklahoma with just under 12,000. Oil and gas, mining, chemical production, plastics, waste management, and landfill operations are among the industries included on the list. Airports, fire training facilities, and military-related locations are also included.

People Were Exposed At Extremely High Levels

According to the EPA, its list includes facilities in industries that may be handling PFAS. The majority of the facilities are labeled as active, while thousands are labeled as inactive, and many others have no indication of their status. Because of their long-term persistence in the environment, PFAS are often referred to as forever chemicals, and thus even sites that are no longer actively discharging pollutants can still be a problem, the news data provided.

According to a public health toxicologist and former director of environmental epidemiology, Davin Brown, at the Connecticut department of health, people who live near any facilities are certainly exposed at extremely high levels. Brown believes there are significantly more sites than those listed by the EPA that pose long-term health hazards to those who live near them.

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