EPA warns cancer-causing chemicals in West Morgan-East Lawrence water supply
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The EPA says water from the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority has excessive amounts of two different chemicals - perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).
They are man-made chemicals found in non-stick cookware, carpet products, and waterproof clothing. Last year, the authority and filed a federal lawsuit alleging 3M Co. and its subsidiary released the chemicals into the Tennessee River. We reached out to 3M and got back the following statement:
"3M's activities in connection with these materials were not only fully permitted but entirely appropriate. The new drinking water advisories do not necessitate any action from 3M, as the company exited these chemistries more than a decade ago and has voluntarily helped remediate the chemicals from the environment."
The EPA says long-term exposure to excess amounts of these chemicals in the water can be life-threatening. The chemicals could cause developmental issues to fetuses or infants, cancer and liver damage. Exposure can be especially damaging to pregnant women or children. West Morgan-East Lawrence is working on a solution to remove the two chemicals from the water it produces, but say they didn't put the chemicals in and therefore shouldn't have to pay to take the chemicals back out.
"We should have some assistance from EPA," the General Manager of West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority Don Sims said. "They're the ones that allowed this to be put in our river. So they should be the ones helping us with the solutions and paying for it."
Sims says reducing the amount of chemicals in the water is a multimillion-dollar process.
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