Despite media reports, officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Dalton Utilities say they haven’t seen the results of any tests showing the industrial chemical Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in local water.
Georgia Public Broadcasting reported last week that the EPA had found PFOA in the drinking water supplies for both Dalton and Rome. Citing internal EPA documents, the broadcaster reported preliminary results showed PFOA in the water at one part per billion. The EPA considers that level acceptable, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting. But the states of Minnesota and New Jersey have set stricter standards. The tests were reportedly conducted in March.
“Dalton Utilities is cooperating fully with the U.S. EPA in its testing of the community’s drinking water for the presence for (perfluorinated compound) chemicals,” said the utility in a statement. “It is premature to comment at this time, since despite reports to the contrary, we have not received any testing results from EPA’s March 30, 2009, testing. We have no reason to believe that our community’s drinking water poses a risk from these chemicals.”
EPA officials in the Region 4 office in Atlanta said they have not seen the results of those tests, either.
“Those results are not expected until the end of the summer,” said EPA spokeswoman Davina Marraccini.
Georgia Public Broadcasting reported that “no public health advisories have been issued, or are expected to be issued, based on the preliminary results.”
The EPA Web site says PFOA “has many important manufacturing and industrial applications.” It also reports that PFOA is “persistent in the environment,” “remains in people for a very long time” and “causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.”
But the health effects on humans is less clear.
“There’s no definitive data that indicates that (it causes health problems in humans),” Becky Champion, Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) watershed protection assistant branch chief for the Coosa watershed, told The Daily Citizen last year.
“There have been a few tests that have been done that suggest there may be. But there’s no hard-core data out there,” she said.
Officials at the EPD did not immediately return telephone messages Monday.
For more information on PFOA, go to www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa