I read in your front page article, “Testing will begin for ‘Forever Chemicals'” (June 11), that the Maryland Department of the Environment is exploring “a broad effort to test the Chesapeake Bay and creatures within it” for PFAS, starting with oysters in St. Mary’s County waters.
I hope the department is being genuine. The major source of PFAS exposure in the general population is thought to be consumption of seafood, according to science.gov. PFAS, especially Per Fluoro Octane Sulfonic acid or PFOS, is extraordinarily bio-accumulative, meaning it just builds up in us and in sea life. Our bodies can’t break it down. PFOS was used extensively throughout the state in firefighting exercises on military installations. The Chesapeake region is vulnerable because of the number of military installations in a relatively small geographic area.
Maryland is slow in acting compared to states like New Jersey, which has set fish advisories for PFAS. There are no fish advisories in effect regarding PFAS in Maryland. In New Jersey, largemouth bass at Little Pine Lake at Pemberton should not be eaten more than once a year because samples of the fish there were found to contain the chemical PFOS at 73 parts per billion. New Jersey’s regulations could be strengthened.
Lake Pemberton is fed by numerous tributaries that are contaminated by PFAS, which have been used in firefighting foam at the nearby Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst military base.
Richard Ochs, Baltimore
The writer is the former chair of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Superfund Citizens Coalition.
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