The Mobile Area Water and Sewer System (MAWSS) is advising the public that they have found perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, in drinking water above advisory levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

PFAS are man-made chemicals. They have been found in consumer products such as non-stick cookware, cosmetics and cleaning products, and they are also an ingredient in firefighting foam. They mainly enter the air, soil and water through manufacturing facilities, airports and military installations.

Most people have been exposed to PFAS, and evidence suggests that this might lead to developmental effects, cancer, harm to the liver, decreased antibody response to vaccination, and decreased immune response or thyroid issues, among other effects.

The EPA issued lifetime health advisories for four PFAS compounds on June 15.

MAWSS tested the water system for these substances and found at least one of the compounds in drinking water above the advisory levels.

According to MAWSS, the EPA’s health advisory levels for PFAS reflect levels at which adverse health effects might still occur. However, these effects are more likely at higher concentrations. 

MAWSS said in a press release that it is working to implement routine monitoring for the compounds and will share results with the public.

MAWSS recommends that customers contact their doctor or health care provider if they are concerned about their drinking water and consider reducing exposure by using a home or point-of-use filter.

According to MAWSS, boiling, freezing or letting water stand does not reduce PFAS levels.

MAWSS asks that this information be shared with anyone who drinks its water. This can be done by posting the press release publicly or distributing it by hand or mail.

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