New California environmental standards reveal toxins in some water systems

At least 146 public water systems serving nearly 16 million Californians have found dangerous chemicals in their water. Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Across California, city and county officials are finding dangerous chemicals in their drinking water wells. The chemicals are known as PFAs, which have been used for decades in non-stick pan coatings, food packaging, and the foam firefighters use to extinguish blazes. Nearly everyone has been exposed to PFAs in some form.

“They [PFAs] can build up in the body over time. And they’ve been linked to … both kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol,” says Rachel Becker, a reporter for CalMatters with a background in scientific research.

Because the state issued new standards for the chemicals in drinking water, more cities have to reckon with this problem. At least 146 public water systems serving nearly 16 million Californians have found these chemicals in their water and face huge costs to fix it.

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Credits

Guest:
Rachel Becker - reporter for CalMatters with a background in scientific research

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Caleigh Wells, Angie Perrin