Cwiertny on IPR Piece About Ubiquitous Chemicals in Water
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has begun testing across Iowa for human-made toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAs. PFAs, described as "ubiquitous" by the DNR project supervisor, are linked to several health issues ranging from higher risks of testicular and kidney cancer to pre-eclampsia in pregnant people. Dave Cwiertny, director of the Environmental Policy Research Program, was quoted in an Iowa Public Radio news article emphasizing the importance of this testing for the safety of people in Iowa.
"Community right to know is a foundational hallmark of things like environmental justice, where communities that are near industrial sites, if they're using hazardous chemicals, communities should be made aware," Cwiertny said.
Private wells are also at risk of high levels of PFAs because due to the fact private systems are highly unregulated and are not expected to meet the same safety requirements as public systems. With about 10% of Iowans getting their water from private wells, Cwiertny suggested that the state needs to be more proactive about gauging contamination levels to mitigate unnecessary exposure.