People are at risk of developing PFAS cancer when these synthetic chemicals build up in the body. There are many ways people can be exposed to PFAS, including through our food, clothing, cooking utensils, and industrial workplaces.
However, the most common exposure is drinking water contaminated with PFAS. Decades of intensive use of PFAS have resulted in the contamination of groundwater and PFAS in drinking water in communities throughout the United States. Unpublished federal data show that about 110 million Americans drink drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
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PFAS chemicals have been released under a variety of industrial and commercial conditions. The use of fire extinguishing foams containing the chemical PFAS plays an important role in the problem of water pollution. Since 1969, the US military has relied heavily on PFAS firefighting foam for disaster and firefighting training, equipment testing, and emergency response.
At airports, military bases, and training grounds across the country, fire-fighting foam is widely used and then discharged with a hose. This is how PFAS chemicals get into groundwater. Groundwater flows hundreds of miles through underground seeps and ends up in our rivers and lakes, and finally in domestic wells and municipal drinking water sources.
Researchers believe that most people have been exposed to the cancer-causing chemical PFAS. About 98% of the blood collected contains PFAS, and newborns are born with the chemical PFAS already in their bodies.