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PFAS — or 'forever chemicals' — have been detected in more than 50 Ohio drinking water systems

people wearing white lab coats and purple rubber gloves pour water in clear containers into smaller brown bottles
Joshua A. Bickel
Eva Stebel, water researcher, pours a water sample into a smaller glass container for experimentation as part of drinking water and PFAS research at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Center For Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response on Feb. 16, 2023, in Cincinnati.

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) or "forever chemicals" are a mix of toxic chemicals that come from the creation of common household items, like cookware, cosmetics and reusable straws. Long-term exposure to these substances can pose a myriad of health risks, including some types of cancer, birth defects and even delay the onset of puberty in girls.

In 2020 the EPA asked Ohio drinking water systems to test for PFAS in their communities. More than 50 water systems across the state detected the toxins in their drinking water, one of them being Warren County. However, a project led by a team of scientists at the University of Dayton Research Institute is trying to develop a potential solution that would eradicate PFAS from our drinking water — and the environment — permanently.

On Cincinnati Edition, we learn more about the impact of PFAS on our health and discuss whether this new research shows promise.


  • Susan Pinney, Ph.D., FACE professor, Department of Environmental Health director, Center for Environmental Genetics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Moshan Kahandawala, Ph.D., senior research engineer, University of Dayton Research Institute

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