Per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAs) are toxic chemicals that are showing up in illegal dump sites.
This is what the EPA says about PFAs:
- PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.
- Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
- PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe.
- Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
- There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.
Illegal dump sites are usually remote areas that are still convenient enough for people to illegally discard their bulky items, tires, and construct debris. Unlawfully deposed unwanted items contaminate the area in so many ways. One of the most concerning threats is toxic waste entering the drinking water. A big culprit for this type of pollution is tires.
The increasing alarm is the breakdown of tires which contain PFAs. These PFAs enter the soil, ground water, and the air, especially if they burn. Tires left in an unsafe procedure can easily ignite causing a fire that can spread at a rapid pace causing immense damage.
In 2016, high levels of PFAs were detected in the soil, air, and drinking water. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agency detected PFAs in private wells and the surrounding area and was able to identify the source from the massive tire fire from 1986 and the firefighting foam used to fight the fire.
Although the Pennsylvania fire was not an illegal dumping site, anyone can see multiple tires in an illegal dump site. This is why it is so important to stop the practice of unlawful dumping. Illegal dumping is harming the safety of our very lives. In order to stop illegal dumping an Illegal Dumping Enforcement Program must be implemented.