The Stream, January 23, 2020: PFAS Contamination in U.S. More Widespread than Previously Thought, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

A new report finds that PFAS contamination in the United States is far more prevalent than previously thought. Michigan grants Flint an extension on submitting documentation about 2019 lead samples, as well as the city’s future plans for tackling contamination. Storm Glorida hits Spain’s Ebro river delta, deluging rice paddies. Namibia considers importing cattle at extreme drought overwhelms local herds. Toxins found in a reservoir serving Harare, Zimbabwe, leave 3 million people at risk, a report warns. 

“Residents have complained numerous times about the strong stench coming out of the water that the city of Harare is delivering to ratepayers. The water has visible impurities, which creates doubts and insecurities among consumers.” —Precious Shumba, founder and coordinator of the Harare Residents’ Trust, in reference to tainted water in Zimbabwe’s capital city. An unpublished report by South African company Nanotech Water Solutions warns that toxins in one of the city’s reservoirs could be jeopardizing the health of up to 3 million residents. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

3 kilometers (1.9 miles) Distance that a storm surge from Storm Gloria traveled inward along the east coast of Spain. The floodwaters inundated 30 square kilometers (12 square miles) of rice paddies with seawater. Storm Gloria is threatening parts of France as well. BBC

20 percent Amount that dam levels in Namibia dipped below last month. Aid groups warn that the country is nearing famine, and local cattle herds are being devastated. Namibian officials are considering importing cattle from Botswana to help maintain beef exports to China and Europe. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

New data gathered by the Environmental Working Group revealed that PFAS contamination is more prevalent across the U.S. than previously thought, including in major cities. The group warns that detectable levels of PFAS are likely present in all major U.S. water systems. Out of dozens of samples, the highest levels of PFAS were found in Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Reuters

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On the Radar

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has granted Flint a second extension on compiling water samples from homes that are at high risk for lead contamination. The city is required to gather 60 samples for an upcoming report on the status of Flint’s water, as well as future plans for maintaining the city’s water system. The 60 samples were supposed to be ready by the end of 2019. MLive 

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