Jersey

PFOS chemical levels found in Jersey water 'safe'

Water tap Image copyright Press Association
Image caption The effects of PFOS are unknown, but recent studies indicate that low levels are not a threat

Traces of chemicals found in Jersey's water do not constitute a "public health concern", a report has concluded.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was identified in a majority of private water supplies across the island.

These traces were found in private water supplies like wells or boreholes, rather than the mains water system.

The study was undertaken after a concerned resident asked for a sample to be taken from their property.

They specifically requested a PFOS test as they were aware of the past use at the airport.

There is no scientific consensus on the impact of PFOS, but recent studies have concluded that risks are "limited".

An Australian study from 2018 concluded there is "no current evidence" of an increased cancer risk.

The report acknowledged that whilst "the evidence available is weak and inconsistent", it was best to minimise exposure, as these chemicals can potentially build up in the body.


What are the uses of PFOS?

PFOS and related chemicals do not occur naturally and are used for resisting heat, oil, stains and water in certain products.

Common uses are in cookware, making furniture more fire resistant, as well as in some fire fighting foams effective in tackling liquid fuel fires.

Jersey's fire service no longer uses foams containing PFOS.


However, the report identified that the levels around the airport and Pont Marquet required "further testing" due to higher levels present in those areas.

Minister for the Environment John Young described the study as a "milestone" in the study of Jersey's water network.

"I know that there has been concern around the presence of PFOS in borehole water, and it is important that we address those concerns." he added.

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