At least 7 children have been diagnosed with cancer over the past 4 years in the central Californian city of Ripon, located in San Joaquin county. This news comes only a month after water supply centers across the nation were flagged for potentially hazardous chemicals, affecting millions of Americans, including those in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Earlier this year, researchers from Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute discovered “at least 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe [chemicals]…” including Teflon. These man-made chemicals are linked to birth defects and reduced immune responses in children. Experts estimate that more than 19 million Americans could be exposed.
California has the second most contaminated water sites in the nation, following Michigan. Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company, two of the local water supplies serving the Santa Clarita Valley, have both tested positive for PFAS, a compound found in consumer products. These water supply centers serve a combined ~250,000 people. After testing the local water wells, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency removed at least one from public service.
One of the methods used for evaluating toxic water levels in communities like Ripon is vapor testing; a soil sample in the community is tested for a potentially hazardous chemical vapor. Several environmental groups, like Freshwater Future, are selling at-home test kits for PFAS, providing a temporary piece-of-mind to residents in the affected communities. However, officials advise against testing yourself, as cross-contamination is likely. Want to test what is in your water? Rowin Plumbing of Santa Clarita can be reached at (661) 252-5757 for water testing services.
Residents should not be concerned about showering or bathing in contaminated water, and water used to do laundry or wash dishes is not a major source of exposure to PFAS. Food that has been cooked in or washed with contaminated water should not be consumed.