Readers Respond

Maryland must take stronger action to keep drinking water safe from PFAS | READER COMMENTARY

Pat Elder holds PFAS water test results behind his home while turning his back to St. Inigoes Creek. a tributary of the St. Mary's River in southern Maryland last April. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)

The Maryland General Assembly passed a weak measure that bans the use of PFAS for civilian firefighter training purposes. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s a molehill compared to the mountain of work the legislature must accomplish to protect public health from these dangerous substances (”Maryland to begin testing drinking water, Chesapeake Bay oysters for harmful ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS,” June 11).

No one should be drinking water containing PFAS. It’s poisonous, and it is linked to several cancers and fetal abnormalities. It’s up to the state to pass meaningful legislation while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fiddles.


Maryland must immediately ban of the use of all firefighting foams containing PFAS. Capable substitutes known as fluorine-free foams, or 3F are in regular use throughout European airports.

Maryland must establish a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 1 part per trillion in groundwater and drinking water for all PFAS types combined, and the state must begin the testing of all source water for municipal water systems to determine the levels of PFAS chemicals. Likewise, the state should test private groundwater wells, especially those closest to the burn pits of military bases, municipal airports and fire training areas. Groundwater plumes may travel for miles.


Maryland must immediately ban the incineration of PFAS and insure that the materials leaving the state are not incinerated. There’s not enough science to justify burning the materials.

The state must immediately order the testing of sewage sludge to determine the levels of PFAS, and the state must establish an MCL for such materials and prohibit the toxins from being spread on farm fields that may contaminate food grown for human consumption. Finally, the state should test surface waters to determine the levels of PFAS as well as test seafood and farm produce.

Maryland is behind many states.

A.J. Liepold, Silver Spring

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