What does PFOA/PFOS water contamination mean for my health?

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WEST MORGAN – EAST LAWRENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s a lot of confusion right now over the safety of the water in the West Morgan and East Lawrence areas.  This, after a Thursday announcement by the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority and West Lawrence Water Co-Op saying people should not drink the water.

Messages from state and county leaders conflict with this.

What should you believe?  Here is information from scientists, who have linked prolonged exposure to the chemicals found in the water provided by the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority and West Lawrence Water Co-Op to a number of health problems, including cancer.

One of the major chemicals causing concern in the water here is PFOA, also known as C8.

During 2005 to 2013, the C8 Science Panel carried out exposure and health studies by collecting data from 69,000 people.  These people lived in the Mid-Ohio Valley communities and were exposed to PFOA.

They published their findings in “Probable Link Reports.”

Here are the health ailments with a probable link to PFOA exposure:

  • Diagnosed high cholesterol
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer

The  EPA affirms those findings and adds:

  • Developmental effects for fetuses
  • Liver tissue damage
  • Immune system impairments to the list.

Again, these health effects come with prolonged exposure, so the best health step you can take is to reduce exposure.

If you live in an affected area, you can do that by not drinking or cooking with the affected water.

For emphasis, the  EPA advises water should have  PFOA and  PFOS levels below 70 parts per trillion.

The last water data from the Alabama Department for Environmental Management for the West Morgan East Lawrence water authority puts their level at 230 parts per trillion.

It is always important to emphasize here, these contaminants have been in the water for well over a decade and it’s prolonged exposure that causes the issues. It’s not something you’ll notice overnight.

So, as we have already said, what you want to be looking to do is reduce your exposure going forward.