MIAMI VALLEY — A new United States Geological Survey shows nearly half of the nation’s tap water has a least one potentially harmful chemical.
The survey is the first time private and public tap water has been tested directly from people’s kitchen sinks for chemicals known as PFAS — and southwest Ohio tested positive.
Miami Valley residents share how they drink their water.
“I drink bottled water,” Mike Neely of Riverside said.
Some said they make sure it’s purified first.
“We do have filtered water, like on our refrigerator,” Chris Smith of Centerville said.
Many said they don’t usually drink tap water which was tested by the USGS in more than 700 different locations across the country.
What the survey found was that a group of man-made chemicals known as PFAS or “forever chemicals” could be present in nearly half of all tap water in the country, including the Miami Valley.
“I don’t trust it. Tap water. I trust a regular bottle of water,” Mike Neely of Riverside said.
The results of the survey are not a shock for Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer of Premier Health.
“The substances were around urban centers that had a significant amount of industry … so it’s not really surprising,” Colon said.
Jay Johnson of Riverside said he grew up on that type of water.
“City water just never tastes right and it tastes inconsistent,” Johnson said.
Colon believes the percentage of chemicals could actually be higher than the survey suggests.
“Many homes as well as many communities have purification systems that can actually extract and remove some of these chemicals from the water,” he said.
The USGS said this study is meant to help people understand their risk of exposure to these chemicals.
“There could be issues as severe as cancer, it could also cause problems with metabolism,” Colon said.
But this is rare and should not cause panic, he added.
“These are substances that have unfortunately been with us for some time,” he said ” If you are particularly concerned, there are home filtration systems that we can all use, particularly doses of activated charcoal that can actually extract some of these substances.
News Center 7 reached out to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency who said there is a proposed federal rule that would require sampling for six types of PFAs which could pass by the end of the year.
At this time there is no requirement for public water systems to monitor them.