They’re everywhere, and they’re persistent.
You may not have heard of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but you may have heard of “forever chemicals.” These chemicals are man-made, linked to cancer and do not break down naturally in most environments. They are used in everyday products like nonstick cookwares, waterproof clothing and even fire extinguisher foam.
They are a very real threat to public health and the environment. It’s a threat that our community has too much experience with. Two years ago, news broke that soil and groundwater at the Former Indian River State College Fire Training Facility tested positive for PFAS. The year before, the City of Stuart had to undertake a $2 million cleanup after the same substances were detected in several water wells.
Despite the fact that PFAS are harmful and can exist in our environment for decades, if not centuries, we know very little about these chemicals.
Last month, the House of Representatives took action to change that by passing the Federal PFAS Research Evaluation Act, which would require the EPA to do more to combat PFAS.
It is about time our government takes this chemical threat seriously. This is a crucial step forward in understanding and getting rid of “forever chemicals.”