Scientists have raised concerns about recent contamination along the Delaware River in South Jersey, which has led to the pollution of water, air, and soil for a long time.
According to new research by scientists from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, a scarcely studied group of toxic chemicals is now detected in soil throughout the counties of Gloucester and Salem.
Sources cite that the pollution seems to have been spewed into the air, some of it propelled as far as North Jersey, from West Deptford chemical plant which, just a few years ago, was blamed for a water crisis.
The research, ‘Nontargeted mass-spectral detection of chloroperfluoropolyether carboxylates in New Jersey soils’ published in Journal Science last month, focuses on the diffusion of new substance used by Solvay, a Belgian-based chemical company, at its South Jersey-based facility.
The substances in question are replacements for PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) that are considered to be human toxic chemicals.
PFAS is often called ‘forever chemical’ because it doesn’t break down easily in the environment or the human body and is used in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, firefighter foam, and many other products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are associated with cancer and other health consequences.
DEP spokesperson Larry Hajna stated that the toxicity and bioaccumulation properties of the Solvay chemicals are expected to be similar to the more well-studied PFAS. The potential effects on the health from these compounds are still not known.
The DEP supports and promotes further research into the distribution of replacement chemicals and possible environmental and health effects, Hajna said.
Washington stated that the EPA will continue to research new chemicals and urged others to participate in the research.