Minnesota Unveils ‘Forever Chemicals’ Online Tracking Tool
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The State of Minnesota today unveiled a new online dashboard that members of the public can use to monitor their community's public water systems for the presence of PFAS or so-called "forever chemicals."
While PFAS have been detected in nearly two-thirds of water systems tested statewide, the Minnesota Department of Health says the results featured on the new dashboard found "the vast majority of community water systems in the state have either no detections of PFAS or levels that are below the current state levels of health concern." Rochester is in that group. So far, only one of the public water systems that have been tested has been found to have PFAS levels that exceed current state health-based guidance values for drinking water.
State officials say the "forever chemicals" I've been associated with "a wide range of human health effects." The list includes higher cholesterol, changes to liver function, reduced immune response, thyroid disease, and an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
“With this new tool, Minnesotans will be able to see for themselves whether PFAS is a concern for the health of their communities and their families,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Our statewide testing and dashboard are just two examples of how Minnesota continues to be a national leader in providing safe drinking water.”
A news release says the statewide testing program has completed assessments of just over 400 of the state's approximately 900 public water systems. It also notes the 400 systems that have been assessed serve about 75-percent of Minnesotans who obtain their drinking water from public systems. The state's investigation of PFAS and their impact on health began in 2002 near the 3M plant in Cottage Grove and related waste disposal sites in Washington County.