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HHS Releases ‘Nightmare’ PFAS Chemical Study Suppressed by Scott Pruitt, White House

Confirms Exposure to Toxic Nonstick Chemicals Should be 10X Lower Than EPA’s Estimates.

A government report released today – which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense and the White House for fear it would cause a “public relations nightmare” – recommends a much lower safe level for toxic fluorinated, or PFAS, chemicals than the EPA’s non-enforceable health advisory level.

The report from scientists at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Control, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, concludes that the “minimal risk level” for exposure to PFOA and PFOS, two notorious PFAS chemicals, should be seven to 10 times lower than the level previously recommended by the EPA.

“This study confirms that the EPA’s guidelines for PFAS levels in drinking water woefully underestimate risks to human health,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor at EWG. “We urge EPA to collect and publish all water results showing PFAS contamination at any level, so Americans across the country can take immediate steps to protect themselves and their families.”

A recent EWG analysis of unreleased data suggests that tap water supplies for an estimated 110 million Americans are contaminated with PFAS chemicals.


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In the absence of federal leadership by the Trump administration on the growing crisis of PFAS-contaminated drinking water, states like New Jersey, Michigan and others have been taking the lead on setting real health protective standards.

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt should use this information and the agency’s considerable resources to protect the public, but trusting him with safeguarding people from pollution is like relying on a crooked accountant to handle your finances,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “It will largely fall to state and local governments to step in and take the necessary action to deliver results for the public.”



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The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.

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