St. Inigoes, MD – We are all living a Hollywood horror plot line as we attempt to avoid getting and spreading Covid-19. While the Association is effectively closed for much business, we have been busy putting together a plan for PFAS testing and a white paper on the PFAS threat. Soon we will publish this paper on our website although it will remain a living document over the next few months as we continue to research and gather information.
The Maryland Department of the Environment released a statement earlier this month indicating that they have developed a plan to test in the St. Inigoes area in April with results to be made public in May. But due to the Governor’s stay-at-home order, the testing is being postponed, according to an April 6 article in the Bay Journal, “MD to test water, oysters in St. Mary’s River for toxic chemicals.”
The St. Mary’s River Watershed Association Board of Directors met last week and decided that additional independent testing was necessary in order to provide transparency to the testing process and to validate results. The Association is looking to test for 28 PFAS chemicals using an independent EPA-certified lab and qualified sampling technicians. This will be very costly. Quotes from certified labs run around $1,000 per site to test water and oysters. This threat surfaced in February with a test result at Rosecroft Point (this test is questioned and needs to be verified). We did not budget for PFAS testing and our annual fund raiser may not occur due to Covid-19 stay-at-home protocols. Therefore, we are asking our members to consider making a donation to help cover this cost. We’d like to test 15 sites and have already raised $2500 leaving us significantly short of funding. Please help if you can – DONATE HERE.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s, according to the EPA’s website. PFAS has been used extensively in fire-fighting foams at both Patuxent NAS and Webster Field. Minute amounts of PFAS are a known health concern especially for pregnant women and their unborn children. PFAS levels are reported in parts per trillion (ppt) or in nanograms per gram dry weight. PFAS are found in some clothing, food packaging, stain guard formulas, non-stick frying pans, and other household items. Therefore the sampling can be easily contaminated resulting in both false positive tests and results lower than actually present.
To learn more about PFAS and the dangers to human health, visit the EPA’s web page: https://www.epa.gov/PFAS/basic-information-PFAS