“PFAS Likely Detectable In All Major Water Supplies”

You don’t need to live downstream from a chemical plant to be drinking PFAS-contaminated water. The EPA has been so lax at regulating these “forever” chemicals (which they were warned about since 2001) that it is now, literally, raining plastics. PFAS has infiltrated everyone’s water.

PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported, Environmental Working Group, 22 January 2020

New laboratory tests commissioned by EWG have for the first time found the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas. The results confirm that the number of Americans exposed to PFAS from contaminated tap water has been dramatically underestimated by previous studies, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and EWG’s own research.

Based on our tests and new academic research that found PFAS widespread in rainwater, EWG scientists now believe PFAS is likely detectable in all major water supplies in the U.S.

Of tap water samples from 44 places in 31 states and the District of Columbia, only one location had no detectable PFAS, and only two other locations had PFAS below the level that independent studies show pose risks to human health. Some of the highest PFAS levels detected were in samples from major metropolitan areas, including Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans and the northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City.

In 34 places where EWG’s tests found PFAS, contamination has not been publicly reported by the Environmental Protection Agency or state environmental agencies.

Note that since this graph was produced, the EPA lowered their “safe” limit … dramatically.

EWG’s samples … were analyzed by an accredited independent laboratory for 30 different PFAS chemicals, a tiny fraction of the thousands [4700!] of compounds in the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because once released into the environment they do not break down, and they build up in our blood and organs. Exposure to PFAS increases the risk of cancer, harms the development of the fetus and reduces the effectiveness of vaccines. Biomonitoring studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the blood of nearly all Americans is contaminated with PFAS.

Since the EPA program ended [in 2015] there has been no further nationwide testing of public water systems for PFAS. … An expert at the Water and Environmental Technology Center at Temple University, in Philadelphia, said about PFAS contamination: “If you sample, you will find it.”

Bottled water:

There is no government requirement for PFAS testing of bottled water, no public information about potential PFAS contamination of water supplies that manufacturers use for production of bottled water, and no guarantee that the levels of PFAS in bottled waters are lower than those of tap water.

Even if people or water plants treat the water…

The most effective choice for in-home treatment of PFAS-tainted tap water is a reverse osmosis system that combines an activated carbon filter with a reverse osmosis membrane.

… there is the problem of where to dispose of the filters. Not a landfill, not an incinerator, certainly not a river. We are back to square one. The answer? Stop producing PFAS! Sadly, our government is addicted to the money that industry injects them with.

Rainwater In Parts Of US Contains High Levels Of PFAS Chemical, Says Study, The Guardian, 17 December 2019
Levels high enough to potentially impact human health and trigger regulatory action, which only targets two of 4,700 variants

It’s Literally Raining PFAS Around The Great Lakes, Say Researchers, Michigan Live, 8 June 2021

Thanksgiving Menu At Plaza Hotel, New York City, 1899

This was a very ambitious menu. I’ve worked in commercial kitchens. That is a lot of work.

Eating animals was definitely a thing.

Celery was a thing:

  • Salad: Plain Celery
  • Salad: Celery salad
  • Salad: Hothouse tomatoes stuffed with celery
  • Celery braised au jus

Grapes were also a thing:

  • Niagara grapes
  • Delaware grapes
  • Catawba grapes
  • Concord grapes
  • Malaga grapes
  • Tokay grapes

I wonder what “National Sorbet” was.

Chemical Companies Don’t Just Dump Toxic PFAS Into Rivers From Which People Derive Their Drinking Water, Right?

The Chemours Company (spinoff of Dupont) discharging waste into Cape Fear River. From NRDC

Chemical companies don’t just dump this stuff into rivers from which people derive their drinking water, right?

Cape Fear River watershed — which supplies drinking water for around 350,000 North Carolinians — remains contaminated with the perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that DuPont, and its spin-off, Chemours, dumped into the river for more than four decades.

Four decades is a long time to be dumping “forever chemicals” that don’t easily break down, that accumulate in soil, water, animals, and people’s bodies, that have horrendous health effects.

From: The Drinking Water Crisis That North Carolina Ignored, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), June 2021

The water in the whole state of North Carolina is a mess.

Just west of Wilmington’s Hanover County sits Brunswick County, which a 2019 Environmental Working Group study found to have by far the highest PFAS levels in its tap water out of the 44 places it analyzed across the country.

Farther north in the watershed of the Haw River, a Cape Fear tributary, PFAS contamination is also a problem.

It’s a mess because North Carolina likes having big chemical companies as part of their revenue base.

North Carolina is currently reviewing its water quality standards, something it does every three years, but not one rule for PFAS pollution is even up for consideration. “People know they’re being poisoned, but the state isn’t doing much about it,” [NRDC attorney Corinne] Bell says.

That article from NRDC was posted in June of this year. In October, 4 months later, the EPA said that the PFAS chemicals in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River “are more toxic than a Trump-era assessment found.” The old standard is more than 3 times higher than the new standard.

EPA Finds Chemical Contaminating North Carolina River More Toxic Than Previously Assessed, The Hill, 25 October 2021

It’s now safe to ingest “GenX” chemicals at a level of only three-millionths of a milligram per kilogram of body weight each day.

A 2018 draft report from the agency said it was safe to ingest eight-hundred-thousandths of a milligram per kilogram of body weight.

GenX chemicals:

GenX is part of a class of chemicals known as PFAS, which have been linked to a range of health issues. PFAS are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily and persist in people’s bodies and the environment.

And just last week, 16 November, the EPA said:

Negative health effects may occur at much lower levels of exposure to PFOA and PFOS than previously understood and that PFOA is a likely carcinogen.

A likely carcinogen? This is a map of thyroid cancer clusters in North Carolina. The red area in the lower right is downstream from Chemours’ Fayetteville plant:

Walking Sends Pulses Up Through Arteries That Modify Blood Flow To The Brain

Photo Source: The Guardian

This was presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in 2017. I cannot find where it was published afterwards.* The study was tiny, 12 people. Still, some interesting findings.

* The published abstract (Thanks, Dave!):
Acute Effects of Walking on Human Internal Carotid Blood Flow, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, October 2018

How Walking Benefits The Brain, Science Daily, 24 April 2017
Researchers Show That Foot’s Impact Helps Control, Increase The Amount Of Blood Sent To The Brain

You probably know that walking does your body good, but it’s not just your heart and muscles that benefit. Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain. The research will be presented today at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2017 in Chicago.

Until recently, the blood supply to the brain (cerebral blood flow or CBF) was thought to be involuntarily regulated by the body and relatively unaffected by changes in the blood pressure caused by exercise or exertion. The NMHU research team and others previously found that the foot’s impact during running (4-5 G-forces) caused significant impact-related retrograde (backward-flowing) waves through the arteries that sync with the heart rate and stride rate to dynamically regulate blood circulation to the brain.

In the current study, the research team used non-invasive ultrasound to measure internal carotid artery blood velocity waves and arterial diameters to calculate hemispheric CBF to both sides of the brain of 12 healthy young adults during standing upright rest and steady walking (1 meter/second [2.2 miles per hour]). The researchers found that though there is lighter foot impact associated with walking compared with running, walking still produces larger pressure waves in the body that significantly increase blood flow to the brain. While the effects of walking on CBF were less dramatic than those caused by running, they were greater than the effects seen during cycling, which involves no foot impact at all.

New data now strongly suggest that brain blood flow is very dynamic and depends directly on cyclic aortic pressures that interact with retrograde pressure pulses from foot impacts,” the researchers wrote. “There is a continuum of hemodynamic effects on human brain blood flow within pedaling, walking and running. Speculatively, these activities may optimize brain perfusion, function, and overall sense of wellbeing during exercise.”

“What is surprising is that it took so long for us to finally measure these obvious hydraulic effects on cerebral blood flow,” first author Ernest Greene explained. “There is an optimizing rhythm between brain blood flow and ambulating. Stride rates and their foot impacts are within the range of our normal heart rates (about 120/minute) when we are briskly moving along.”

So, there is an “optimizing rhythm” between brain blood flow and foot impacts. Walking just 2.2 mph, which is not fast, “produces larger pressure waves in the body that significantly increase blood flow to the brain.”

It’s not just that walking increases blood flow to the brain, but that it does it in tune with the speed and impact of the foot fall.

… retrograde (backward-flowing) waves through the arteries that sync with the heart rate and stride rate to dynamically regulate blood circulation to the brain.

Reminds me of music. That kind of whole-body effect. Like there is some essential rhythm that goes on in our bodies that affects all systems and matches the environment, constantly being readjusted.

Do you remember this post, a video by Alan Watts? Where he says (paraphrasing) that we are not just an object in our environment, divorced from it. We are one with it?

I wonder why we don’t study this more. Maybe because walking doesn’t lend itself to corporate profit. Even though, in almost every way you can think, walking improves us.

Speculatively, these activities may optimize brain perfusion, function, and overall sense of wellbeing during exercise.

Dark Waters, A Film Based On Real Events About PFAS Contamination In West Virginia

This is a story about PFAS chemicals, nicknamed the “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily and accumulate in people’s bodies and the environment. The EPA just said last month that the “safe” level for these chemicals are “at a level of only three-millionths of a milligram per kilogram of body weight each day,” much less than previously thought.

PFAS chemicals have contaminated US tap water and the sources for many “spring” waters. The chemicals are not being adequately monitored or regulated.

Wikipedia: Dark Waters (2019 film)

Dark Waters is a 2019 American legal thriller film directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. The story dramatizes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals. It stars Mark Ruffalo as Bilott, along with Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman.

The film is based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich. The story was first told in the 2007 book “Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8” by Callie Lyons, a Mid-Ohio Valley journalist who covered the controversy as it was unfolding. Parts of the story were also reported by Mariah Blake, whose 2015 article “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia” was a National Magazine Award finalist, and Sharon Lerner, whose series “Bad Chemistry” ran in The Intercept. Bilott also wrote a memoir, Exposure, detailing his 20-year legal battle against DuPont.

Dark Waters had a limited theatrical release on November 22, 2019, by Focus Features, and went wide on December 6, 2019. The film received positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $23 million.

BREAKING: EPA Press Release: PFAS “Likely Carcinogen,” Harm Occurs “At Much Lower Levels” Than Thought

I’m telling you, PFAS, the “forever chemicals” are a problem. They aren’t a problem for the future or for certain communities. They are a problem now, for everyone.

EPA Advances Science To Protect the Public From PFOA And PFOS In Drinking Water, EPA, November 16, 2021

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2021) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking the agency’s Science Advisory Board to review draft scientific documents regarding the health effects of certain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). EPA is committed to science-based approaches to protect public health from exposure to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), including by quickly updating drinking water health advisories with new peer-reviewed approaches and expeditiously developing National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for these contaminants.

“Under our new PFAS Strategic Roadmap, EPA is moving aggressively on clear, robust, and science-based actions to protect communities suffering from legacy PFOA and PFOS contamination,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This action will ensure a rigorous review from experienced scientists to strengthen our understanding of this preliminary information as the agency works toward developing revised health advisories for PFOA and PFOS, and soon establishing regulations that protect communities from these contaminants.”

EPA has transmitted to the Science Advisory Board four draft documents with recent scientific data and new analyses that indicate that negative health effects may occur at much lower levels of exposure to PFOA and PFOS than previously understood and that PFOA is a likely carcinogen. The draft documents present EPA’s initial analysis and findings with respect to this new information.

Following peer review, this information will be used to inform health advisories and the development of Maximum Contaminant Level Goals and a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS. EPA is now seeking independent scientific review of these documents. EPA is making these draft documents available to the public to ensure a transparent and robust evaluation of the available information.

EPA will not wait to take action to protect the public from PFAS exposure. The agency will be actively engaging with its partners regarding PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, including supporting their monitoring and remediation efforts. Importantly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021, invests $10 billion to help communities test for and clean up PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water and wastewater, and can be used to support projects in disadvantaged communities.

EPA will move as quickly as possible to issue updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS that reflect this new science and input from the SAB. Concurrently, EPA will continue to develop a proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for publication in Fall 2022.

The information they are acting on (we think they will be acting on) is not new – as I’ve posted.

That’s In A Potato?

I have to keep reminding myself how much nutrition a simple russet potato provides.

These are standouts, for a large potato, baked with skin:

  • 8 grams of protein. Not an egg but respectable.
  • 38.6 mg of vitamin C. That’s 64% of the Daily Value, more than half of the day’s requirement. In a potato!
  • 3.2 mg iron. Important for vegans.
  • 1645 mg potassium. That’s 63% of the RDA for a woman. You can balance a lot of sodium with that.
  • 7 grams of fiber. More than many adults get in a day. (RDA is 25g for women, 38g for men.)
  • 90 mg magnesium. Good for sleep, and hot flashes, and mood, and as a muscle relaxant. Can never say enough good about magnesium.

I bought a few bags and have been experimenting with the best way to cook them. American’s Test Kitchen, among others, say to bake at 450 degrees for 45 min to 1 hour. I’ve also read to go low, 325 degrees for 90 minutes, up to 2 hours. Low-and-slow gives a tastier potato but the skin gets too hard. Wrapping it in foil keeps the skin soft, yes, but the insides are too wet. I’m still at it. Suggestions welcome.