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Water contamination from Scotchgard chemical worries EPA

Lana Bandoim's picture

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still concerned about a chemical that used to be an ingredient in Scotchgard and has been removed. It is contaminating water, and a recent study reveals it is showing up in freshwater fish. The EPA points out perfluorooctane sulfonic acid or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is able to accumulate in the body from multiple sources.


A study conducted by the EPA reveals that perfluorooctane sulfonic acid is part of a group of perfluorinated compounds affecting rivers and the Great Lakes. PFOS is currently considered to be a toxic pollutant, but it was once used in Scotchgard products. Several studies have shown that high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid can have a negative impact on people’s health with increased risk of developmental problems, liver issues, kidney disease and other disorders.

The latest research is part of a disturbing trend of water contamination that is reaching multiple parts beyond the rivers and lakes that have toxic pollutants. The problems continue to expand, so it may explain why more people are purchasing water purifiers and filters. A recent report found that there is a rise in personal water ionizer machines, and you can view the alkaline machine here. People are becoming more concerned about the safety of their water and reacting by buying purifiers and filters.

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The Environmental Protection Agency mentions that multiple species of freshwater fish were tested for the chemical, and all of them had positive results. Since the pollutant is in water and does not degrade, it is easily absorbed by fish and other organisms. Previous research indicates “ready absorption of PFOS and distribution of the chemical throughout the body by noncovalent binding to plasma proteins,” and it does not leave the body easily because it is reabsorbed.

The findings present a dilemma for consumers who may enjoy eating bass, trout, catfish and other freshwater fish. Contaminated water is not limited to a particular area or state, so it is difficult to avoid the chemical. Some have suggested limiting the consumption of fish, but PFOS is already in most people’s systems and can be found in additional parts of the environment. Researchers hope they can discover a way to eliminate perfluorooctane sulfonate safely from a person’s or animal’s body, but it is not an easy process, and funding is an issue. Meanwhile, environmental groups are worried about new chemicals being added to the mix of water pollutants.

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