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What are 'forever chemicals?'

A new study claims New Orleans has high levels in the drinking water

NEW ORLEANS — If you drink New Orleans water, the findings of a new study may raise some questions. 

A report released this week found drinking water in the United States has what's called "forever chemicals," but what are they?

They're manmade and can't be destroyed. They're also in a lot of common items, like shampoo and Teflon pans.

"So these compounds are a large family of chemicals produced by DuPont and 3M and other companies," said Tulane Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Charles Miller. "They're used in a lot of products like carpeting, weather-proof jackets, and they're ubiquitous in our environment, so people get exposed to small amounts of them."

Like when you drink water. A recent study by the Environmental Working Group focused on the nation's tap water, and found contamination in almost every U.S. city. New Orleans ranked high at number eight. One reason may be because of our location along the Mississippi River.

"I drink tap water from New Orleans and I think high might be a misnomer," Miller said. "I think the right word is more, it has more than other places."

Resistant to boiled water and common household filtration systems, these chemicals can also be found in bottled water. Some say the answer is regulation.

"We need better toxicity testing upfront before chemicals are put into the work place or put into the environment," Miller said.

The Sewerage and Water Board says the last time they tested for 'forever chemicals' was between 2013 and 2015 and found no presence of the half dozen tracked substances in the water. They also say they support the EPA discussing regulations regarding these chemicals.

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