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A new dashboard launched by the Minnesota Department of Health will allow residents to track the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their local public water supplies. 

PFASs are chemicals that were for decades used to make various products, including materials there were resistant to heat, oil, strains, grease, or water. 

Maplewood-based 3M, which settled a lawsuit with the state to the tune of $850 million to fund efforts to address its decades-long disposal of PFAS in areas of the east Twin Cities metro, which found their way into water supplies.

The results from statewide testing showed that the majority of community water systems have either "no detections of PFAS or levels that are below the current state levels of health concern." 

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According to MDH, high exposure to these substances are associated with a wide range of human health effects, including:

  • High cholesterol
  • Changes to liver function
  • Reduced immune response
  • Thyroid disease
  • Increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer

“With this new tool, Minnesotans will be able to see for themselves whether PFAS is a concern for the health of their communities and their families,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm in a statement. “Our statewide testing and dashboard are just two examples of how Minnesota continues to be a national leader in providing safe drinking water.”

According to MDH, the testing PFAS project began last year. Minnesota now joins Michigan, Ohio and Illinois in testing for the substances. 

Recent test results show that assessment has been completed in 401 of about 900 public systems in the state, covering about 75% of Minnesota households. Roughly two-thirds of the systems have detected some trace of PFAS, but health officials say the majority of the results are no reason to be alarmed at this time.

“Some PFAS are commonly found at low levels in drinking water, but it’s rare to find elevated PFAS in drinking water outside of communities with known contamination sites,” said Jane de Lambert, MDH environmental research scientist.

Check out the interactive dashboard by clicking here.

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