It’s Raining “Forever Chemicals” In and Around the Great Lakes

The chemicals used to make non-stick pans, water-and-stain-proof fabrics, and leak-proof fast-food containers, are pouring down from the clouds into the Great Lakes, study finds

We humans thought we were so smart when we created chemicals that kept food from sticking to pans, stains from sticking to furniture, and water from soaking our clothes and shoes.

But nearly 100 years later, we are stuck with those “forever chemicals” known as PFAS – or polyfluoroalkyls – as they will not break down (biodegrade) and continue to persist in our environment.

Their residue is so concentrated in the Great Lakes region, that they are literally raining down onto the people, animals, plants and water there.

“You can actually say it’s raining PFAS at this point,” Indiana University environmental chemist Marta Venier told Grist.

A new EPA-funded study of the raindrops falling in six states around the Great Lakes showed levels up to ten times higher than what the EPA considers safe in drinking water.

The rainwater samples averaged 100-400 parts per trillion, and were as high as 1000 PPT in Cleveland, Ohio. The EPA’s limit for “safe” drinking water is 70 PPT.

Studies have linked PFAS chemicals to reproductive, liver, kidney, and immunological damage and cancer.

The chemicals are also used to keep fast food containers from leaking and in firefighting foam.