Teflon chemical a possible health risk for 6.5 million people with contaminated water supplies

teflon water supply dangerous faucet
You expect the water that you drink will be healthy and not harmful to your body, but for 6.5 million Americans in 27 states, that may not be the case. A recent study from two environmental scientists suggests the industrial chemical PFOA is a much more serious contaminant than previously thought. PFOA, a component used in the manufacturing of Teflon, is the subject of several class-action and personal injury lawsuits due to its link to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses in those exposed to the chemical.

PFOA has been used since the 1940s in various industrial processes, including the manufacturing of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), such as Teflon, and the waterproof fabric Gore-Tex, which discontinued its use of the chemical in 2013. Studies show that PFOA is persistent in the environment, often showing up in public and other water supplies. It also is present in low levels in the blood of 98 percent of the US population. The EPA has been studying the health hazards associated with PFOA but the agency has been conservative in its handling of the contaminant, issuing only a provisional health advisory that sets 0.4 parts per billion as the recommended safety level. This notice is non-enforceable, which means water companies are not required to test for PFOA. If they do test, they are not obligated to disclose their levels unless they exceed 0.4 parts per billion.

This level suggested by the EPA may be dangerously high, claims a pair of environmental researchers from Harvard and UMASS-Lowell. Using a meta-analysis of previous studies, Harvard’s Philippe Grandjean and UMass-Lowell researcher Richard Clapp believe that the FDA’s recommended safe level for PFOA in drinking water is hundreds and possibly a thousand times too high to protect people from the toxic effects of the chemical. PFOA may be as dangerous as asbestos or lead, both of which are hazardous at any level.

This is a grave concern for the 94 public water systems in 27 states where PFOA was detected in a 2013 EPA water testing program. These water quality reports reveal that PFOAs are present in water supplies that reach more than 6.5 million people. The detectable levels in the water of these municipalities are low (below the EPA limit), but they are above the new hazardous level suggested by Grandjean’s and Clapp’s study. If you want to know whether your water has PFOA, then you should check out this interactive map from Environmental Working Group.

Smart Home

New Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo models vacuum and mop with multi-floor mapping

Ecovacs Robotics launched two new robotic home floor care models. The Deebot Ozmo 920 and Deebot Ozmo 950 add new laser-based navigation and multi-floor mapping capabilities combine robotic vacuuming and mopping for total floor cleaning.
Movies & TV

Skip the sunshine this summer and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Here are the best shows on Netflix right now (August 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Who needs sunshine? Stay inside and watch the best movies on Netflix instead

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

The bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying tech jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Deals

Locate a runaway pet with the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker, now $64 on Amazon

A good way to monitor your pet’s movements is through a GPS tracker. A great option is the Whistle 3, which is available on Amazon for only $64 as an early Prime Day deal. It’s normally sold for $80, so you get $16 savings.
Smart Home

Google Assistant’s reminders will soon nag your significant other for you

Let Google take the heat for all that nagging: Google Assistant will soon allow you to assign reminders to others. The feature will roll out to Google Assistant-enabled phones, speakers, and displays over the next few weeks.
Buying Guides

Back to school smart home gadgets under $50 for your dorm

Today’s students are accustomed to a high-tech lifestyle, which they'll want to maintain when they start college. But they're also strapped for cash, so these back to school smart home gadgets under $50 for the dorm are perfect!
Smart Home

Startup Camect is on track to deliver a private, unified smart camera hub

It's not every day you run across a crowdfunded startup that has raised nearly three times its goal but startup Camect has done just that to fund the development of a secure smart camera hub expected to launch in 2020.
Smart Home

Smart thermostats explained: How they work and how they save you money

Thinking of buying a smart thermostat, but don't know exactly what you're looking for? We explain how smart thermostats work, the features they offer, and how they can save you money.
Smart Home

The best pet tech products on the market for dog and cat owners

Pet-centric tech has come a long way in the past decade. From self-cleaning litter boxes to DNA tests designed to trace your pup's ancestry through the ages, here is some of the best pet tech available.
Smart Home

Amazon and Walmart match lower prices on Echo Dot and Google Home Mini

Amazon and Walmart resumed their price competition on the entry-level smart speakers for the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Home smart home ecosystems. The price cuts have started with 40% discounts on the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini.
Smart Home

Alexa’s Custom Interfaces hope to augment gadgets, games, and smart toys

Alexa is growing smarter again with a new feature for developers called Custom Interfaces. The feature is aimed at augmenting interactivity between users of Alexa-powered devices like Amazon's Echo and developer's newest products.
Smart Home

Your smart oven might be more ready for breakfast than you realize

Several owners of the June Smart Oven have reported the device turning on and preheating in the middle of the night without any input. June says this is due to user error, but customers are concerned.