Attention Pittsburgh — Let's talk PFAS

EHN and PublicSource are holding a community forum September 12 to further educate residents and health advocacy groups on the region's PFAS contamination

As part of an ongoing reporting collaboration to cover PFAS contamination in Pennsylvania, EHN and Pittsburgh-based PublicSource are holding a community forum next month for residents to hear from reporters and experts on health concerns, state contamination and cleanup progress.


Kristina Marusic, a reporter with Environmental Health News, and Oliver Morrison, a reporter with PublicSource—who together have led news coverage of PFAS in the Pittsburgh region—will moderate the panel, which will feature prominent researchers, attorneys, residents and state officials.

It's estimated that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have been exposed to PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals, including around Pittsburgh's airport. The compounds, used in products such as stain- and water-resistant clothing, nonstick pots and pans, firefighting foam, carpets and furniture, are increasingly found in water supplies throughout the U.S.

Exposure has been linked to health effects including testicular and kidney cancers, decreased birth weights, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, asthma and ulcerative colitis.

Despite this widespread contamination many residents have been left in the dark as to where the pollution is and what's being done about it.

"This is an opportunity for people who may be scared, concerned or curious to get a better sense about what their risk might be," Marusic said. "Our reporting has raised real concerns about the extent of this problem and we hope this forum will move the issue forward."

Marusic and Morrison have reported on the state's new PFAS task force, raised questions about the plan for a drinking water standard, highlighted PFAS contamination on local military bases and airports, and called attention to the widespread use of a type of farm fertilizer that could be contaminated throughout the state.

The forum is free and will take place on Sept. 12, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel near the Pittsburgh International Airport.

To reserve a spot, visit the event page on Facebook.

The forum and reporting collaboration were made possible, in part, through Bridge Pittsburgh Media Partnership funding.

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