PFAS Levels in Ground and Air Could Be Higher Than Expected, Research Suggests

High levels of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in New Hampshire soil samples raise questions about food and water pollution

May 26, 2023 | Source: The Guardian | by Tom Perkins

Background levels of toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” in the ground and air may be much higher than previously thought, federal testing of spatially random soil samples from across New Hampshire suggests.

The analysis found high levels of PFAS in all 100 shallow soil samples, which were taken from undisturbed land not close to known polluters. The chemicals are thought to largely have gotten there through the air, and the study, along with recent EU research, suggests similar levels of soil and air contamination throughout the world.

The findings are “pretty disturbing” and raise fresh questions about contamination of food and water, said Mindi Messmer, a former New Hampshire state representative who advocates for stronger PFAS bans.

“However it got here, it’s there and it is widespread,” she added. “It’s the fault of decades of regulatory inaction.”

PFAS are a class of about 15,000 chemicals often used to make thousands of products resistant to water, stains and heat.