The family of man-made chemicals known as PFAS can be found in all types of household products, including raincoats and non-stick pans, but also in industrial products such as fire-fighting foam. They stay in the body for a very long time – which is why they are often referred to as “Forever Chemicals” – also in the human body and can cause health problems. And there can be a disproportionate amount of it in Mountain West.
Across the country, around 120,000 industries could handle PFAS, according to Environmental Protection Agency documents released this week by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) organization. About one-sixth of these sites, or about 21,000, are in Colorado, more than any other state.
âThe overwhelming percentage ofâ PFAS handling âlocations in Colorado (around 86%) are associated with the oil and gas industry. The number of oil and gas locations listed, around 18,000, dwarfs the second most common industry, waste management. that make up less than a thousand websites, “says a press release from PEER.
The data comes from a recent effort by the EPA to regulate the chemicals. However, PEER attorney Monica Mercola says the Biden government’s measures fall far short of the mark.
“It’s not doing as much as it should to protect human health,” she said. “And that’s the government’s job. And I mean, to be honest, you know, the government is failing us.”
Most of the other states of Mountain West, including Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada, have hundreds of potential PFAS locations well below Colorado’s number.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliated stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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