New report shows EPA underestimated the dangers of chemicals in - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New report shows EPA underestimated the dangers of chemicals in drinking water

Posted: Updated:
AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. -

A new study released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that perfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, are more dangerous at lower levels than previously thought.

The 852-page study was suppressed by the Trump administration because of the "public relations nightmare" it might cause. 

High levels of these chemicals, which are found in firefighting foam, were detected in the Airway Heights drinking water system last year. The PFAS were found at levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s guideline.

Currently, the EPA guideline for safe levels of PFAS is 70 parts per trillion. But the study says safe levels are 7-10 parts per trillion.

“Scientists' were saying ‘hey that's not protective of all the problems we know are associated’ including immune problems and developmental problems," said Sharon Lerner, who is an environmental reporter for The Intercept. "What it does is it increases the risk for some somewhat rare conditions and other less rare conditions."

Lerner has been studying PFAS chemicals since 2015. She also wrote a 16-part investigative series about the chemicals' impact on the environment. 

“They accumulate in the body and it takes years to get rid of them," said Lerner. "I don't want to alarm people but at the same time I think that scientists who study this closely agree.”

Lerner says health risks for individuals exposed to contaminated water include cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

The study also describes how daily consumption of low levels of the chemicals appeared to have an effect on rats and mice tested in labs, including delayed eye-opening in newborns and lower body weight, as well as changed to brain activity.

Fairchild Air Force Base says they were not aware of the CDC study until Thursday. They say their focus remains on continuing to test some well systems that are currently above the EPA health advisory level (70 parts per trillion).

You can read more about Lerner’s work HERE.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane sex trafficking victim gets second chance as shop owner

    Spokane sex trafficking victim gets second chance as shop owner

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 8:42 PM EDT2018-09-19 00:42:17 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - From the outside, the Repeat Boutique looks like a lot of other thrift shops in Spokane.  Inside, some might describe the stuff for sale as old, used, discarded garbage -- but store manager CJ Curtis sees its potential. And just like the goods in her shop, CJ is on her way to a new life, one far from the one she once lived. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - From the outside, the Repeat Boutique looks like a lot of other thrift shops in Spokane.  Inside, some might describe the stuff for sale as old, used, discarded garbage -- but store manager CJ Curtis sees its potential. And just like the goods in her shop, CJ is on her way to a new life, one far from the one she once lived. 

    >>
  • Police impersonator attempts to pull over Spokane woman

    Police impersonator attempts to pull over Spokane woman

    Monday, September 17 2018 8:45 PM EDT2018-09-18 00:45:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He told me to pull over, and my jaw just dropped," a Spokane woman, who says a fake police officer tried to pull her over, doesn't want to be named. In fear, this could happen again. "It really scared me and kind of threw me off that night. I don't even want to drive by myself anymore," she said. She tells me that she was driving around North Spokane at night on her way home from work. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He told me to pull over, and my jaw just dropped," a Spokane woman, who says a fake police officer tried to pull her over, doesn't want to be named. In fear, this could happen again. "It really scared me and kind of threw me off that night. I don't even want to drive by myself anymore," she said. She tells me that she was driving around North Spokane at night on her way home from work. 

    >>
  • Tennessee boy shoots, kills mom's husband during fight

    Tennessee boy shoots, kills mom's husband during fight

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 10:52 AM EDT2018-09-19 14:52:53 GMT

    Authorities in eastern Tennessee say a 12-year-old boy shot and killed his mother's husband during a domestic dispute.    News outlets report 56-year-old Kevron Thomas "Tommy" Durham was shot twice with a rifle Saturday night. A release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson says authorities had received at least five previous calls from the home for domestic violence, although none resulted in criminal charges. 

    >>

    Authorities in eastern Tennessee say a 12-year-old boy shot and killed his mother's husband during a domestic dispute.    News outlets report 56-year-old Kevron Thomas "Tommy" Durham was shot twice with a rifle Saturday night. A release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson says authorities had received at least five previous calls from the home for domestic violence, although none resulted in criminal charges. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • $46M complex plans to house 94 Seattle families

    $46M complex plans to house 94 Seattle families

    Thursday, September 20 2018 1:09 AM EDT2018-09-20 05:09:22 GMT

    SEATTLE (AP) - An eight-story complex primarily funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen plans to house 94 Seattle families. The Seattle Times reports half of the units of the $46 million complex to be built in south Seattle will be reserved for homeless families, with the remaining units reserved for low-income families.    

    >>

    SEATTLE (AP) - An eight-story complex primarily funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen plans to house 94 Seattle families. The Seattle Times reports half of the units of the $46 million complex to be built in south Seattle will be reserved for homeless families, with the remaining units reserved for low-income families.    

    >>
  • Smart won't live in fear after kidnapper release

    Smart won't live in fear after kidnapper release

    Thursday, September 20 2018 12:24 AM EDT2018-09-20 04:24:27 GMT
    Photo: Veneta Rizvic / KOMU / CC BY 2.0Photo: Veneta Rizvic / KOMU / CC BY 2.0

    DRAPER, Utah (AP) - Elizabeth Smart says she's moving forward with her life and trying not to live in fear now that one of her kidnappers has been released from prison.  Smart gave a speech Wednesday at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, telling reporters beforehand that it was "a statement in my moving forward" that she was able to come to the school to speak about sexual violence.

    >>

    DRAPER, Utah (AP) - Elizabeth Smart says she's moving forward with her life and trying not to live in fear now that one of her kidnappers has been released from prison.  Smart gave a speech Wednesday at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, telling reporters beforehand that it was "a statement in my moving forward" that she was able to come to the school to speak about sexual violence.

    >>
  • Council member calls women's deaths a hate crime

    Council member calls women's deaths a hate crime

    Thursday, September 20 2018 12:20 AM EDT2018-09-20 04:20:25 GMT

    LAREDO, Texas (AP) -  An elected leader in a South Texas city rocked by a string of brutal killings says the deaths of four women is a hate crime and that the case should be a call to action for the community. Laredo City Councilwoman Nelly Vielma, the only woman on the governing panel, helped to organize a prayer vigil for the victims' family members, friends and others Wednesday at an arts complex in the city.

    >>

    LAREDO, Texas (AP) -  An elected leader in a South Texas city rocked by a string of brutal killings says the deaths of four women is a hate crime and that the case should be a call to action for the community. Laredo City Councilwoman Nelly Vielma, the only woman on the governing panel, helped to organize a prayer vigil for the victims' family members, friends and others Wednesday at an arts complex in the city.

    >>