Missouri Department of Natural Resources testing for forever chemicals

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 12:20 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 8:32 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Environmental Protection Agency issued an advisory about forever chemicals in our drinking water.

Authorities from the EPA said PFAs or forever chemicals have been used in manufacturing since the 1940s. They have contaminated drinking water across the country. The forever chemicals stay in the environment for years without breaking down. The government links them to cancer and infertility if you are exposed to them for a lifetime.

Brent Weis with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said they tested for PFAs in 2013 with no significant dangerous amounts in any water tested in Missouri. The new EPA advisory led to the state ramping up testing.

“The levels that we’re getting down to now, the real challenge, is getting technology to a place where it can accurately and consistently report these very, very low level detects,” said Weis. “That’s something we’re still working on.”

Weis said there are many different types of PFAs.

“Hundreds to thousands of different PFAs chemicals, a lot of different applications, stain resistant, water, grease-resistant,” said Weis.

Joel Alexander with City Utilities said this isn’t something to worry about in Springfield.

“We test over 65,000 times annually for a variety of contaminants and chemicals,” said Alexander. “You’re not looking at something like the average person would have from their tap water or things like that. You’re looking at a lifetime exposure.”

Weis said the forever chemicals could be hard to detect because the particles are tiny.

“We anticipate we’re going to be sampling nearly all water supplies across the state over the next couple of years,” said Weis.

Weis said most of these chemicals could be found in higher populations rather than rural communities.

Alexander said City Utilities will look at the EPA’s new suggestions on detecting these chemicals.

“The availability of equipment, even how equipment will be designed to do that,” said Alexander. “There’s a lot of questions that are out there. But for the customers of City Utilities, our water is safe.

Weis said in the previous testing that they believe Missouri’s water is safe and is getting more funding from the EPA to ensure that.

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