Chemicals found in waterways, fish

SEATTLE – Widespread low levels of man-made chemicals used to produce nonstick cookware and breathable waterproof clothing have been detected in Washington water and fish, according to a Department of Ecology study released Tuesday.

Ecology officials said the results confirm what they suspected about perfluorinated compounds, known as PFCs, and will help the state come up with a plan to reduce the toxic, persistent chemicals and their risk to residents.

“We don’t have manufacturers of these chemicals in Washington, yet the Washington environment sees them anyway,” said Carol Kraege, who is leading the agency’s Toxics Reduction Initiative. She said the next step will be to determine the sources of PFCs and develop an action plan that could lead to future restrictions.

Until this study, there was little data about PFCs in Washington or the Western states, said study co-author Chad Furl, an Ecology scientist.

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