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New data reveals a dramatic increase in the amount of New Jersey water systems testing positive for large amounts of toxic chemicals. The detected PFAS chemicals, which can remain in a water supply indefinitely, are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.” Several non-profit safety watchdog groups, including the Environmental Working Group, caution the public to become informed of the risks of exposure to forever chemicals in their drinking water before it becomes too late.
Widespread Presence of Forever Chemicals
New Jersey recently updated its regulation of PFAS chemicals and now requires increased reporting of the presence of these dangerous toxins in water supplies. As a result, there were over 10 times more water systems testing positive for these lethal chemicals. Some PFAS chemicals including perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctancesulfonic acid (PFOS) are subject to enforceable state limits in New Jersey.
Over 500 water systems have been identified as having some level of PFAS chemicals in either tap water or untreated ground water supplies. Researchers noted that the presence of forever chemicals was not limited to industrial areas. Contaminated water supplies were found across the state in both residential and non-residential areas, including larger systems such as New Jersey American Water’s system located in Raritan, New Jersey, which services over 600,000 individuals. Aqua America in New Jersey’s Vernon location, a smaller 500-person water system, also tested positive for forever chemicals. Data used to support these findings was provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Defense Department.
Due in part to its highly industrial history, New Jersey has a higher level of PFAS contamination in comparison to other states. Forever chemicals do not naturally break down in the environment and have unfortunately been used during the production of a wide range of consumer products, including nonstick cookware, military grade firefighting foam, and flame-resistant fabrics. State lawmakers recognized the seriousness of the problem and responded by passing some of the strictest chemical regulations in the country. Last year, New Jersey legislators passed regulations that set a maximum contaminant limit for PFNA with similar limits expected soon for other PFAS chemicals.
Approximately 65 of the identified New Jersey contaminated water supplies contained PFAS levels exceeding the normal health limit. Contaminated water supplies can lead to serious health effects for individuals who use the water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Some of the most alarming health effects of exposure to PFAS chemicals include the development of cancers and immune system disorders. Individuals exposed to similar toxic materials can have higher cholesterol rates and develop other chronic medical conditions. Women exposed to PFAS chemicals while pregnant have reported lower birth weights for their newborns.
Individuals suffering adverse health effects after exposure to contaminated water systems may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. At Williams Cedar, our experienced South Jersey environmental contamination lawyers work aggressively on behalf of toxic exposure victims. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve individuals throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.