OC’s Drinking Water Has More Chemicals in It Than You Think

“Forever chemicals” — PFOA and PFOS — are linked to increased risks of cancer and weakened immune systems.

Toxic chemicals in many household items are present in Orange County groundwater sources, potentially exposing residents to pollutants that can cause cancer or reduce immune systems.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “Forever Chemicals”, through drinking water can cause increased cholesterol levels, weakened immune systems, decreased vaccine response in children, and increased risk of testicular and kidney cancers.

PFAS contamination is a threat to Orange County drinking water, and it has caused over 60 wells to shut down in the last two years, according to the Orange County Water District.

OC Water District officials say that during well shutdowns, water retailers temporarily increased non-impacted wells and supplemented with more expensive imported surface water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

An analysis by the OC Water District found these shutdowns are estimated to inflict $1 billion over the next 30 years on local water providers, residents, and water retailers, a cost that is expected to increase.