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The majority of public water systems in New Jersey contain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are known to increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to NJ Spotlight. The findings came from a study carried out by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2010 but the results were not published until recently.
The regulator took 33 samples from 31 public water systems across 20 counties and tested them for 10 different PFCs. Results revealed that potentially hazardous chemicals were detected in 22 of them. The DEP did not provide an explanation of why the results were not published for such a long time, even though it had been repeatedly urged to release the data by environmental groups.
According to activists with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the DEP should have used the data to determine the maximum limits of contamination in water, so that the state could regulate the chemicals. PFCs are used in the production of various consumer products, food packaging, stain repellants and textile coating.
Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, claimed that although samples were taken in early 2010 these water systems are likely to be contaminated even now because PFCs are not biodegradable and are rarely removed from water. Technology that can pick up PFCs from water systems is available but utilities and water companies are not required to use such equipment, Carluccio added.