US agency to study PFAS contamination of Chincoteague water

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — A federal agency says it will investigate how long the town of Chincoteague’s water may have been contaminated by a potentially harmful chemical.

The Daily Times reported earlier this week that personnel from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will estimate historical PFAS levels in Chincoteague’s drinking water.

The move comes after the local American Federation of Government Employees union pushed for more information about possible past contamination.

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has been providing supplemental drinking water for Chincoteague since 2017, when testing of the town’s wells on Wallops property showed the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

PFAS chemicals are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment. They are increasingly turning up in drinking water and some foods across the country. They are used in firefighting foam, which NASA used at Wallops, plus nonstick pots and pans, water-repellent clothing and many other household and personal items.

A spokesman for Wallops said NASA has met with union representatives to discuss their concerns.

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