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In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo weeds engulf a playground at housing section of the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster in Warminster, Pa. In Warminster and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

(Philadelphia) — Pennsylvania is set to begin sampling drinking water across the state later this month in a bid to determine whether a class of highly toxic chemicals is contaminating the supply.

Department of Environmental Protection officials tell The Philadelphia Inquirer the plan is on track to start around the end of May.

The perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS, have turned up increasingly in public water systems and private wells around the country.

To date, the state has identified 493 public water systems in Pennsylvania that are located within half a mile of a potential source of PFAS contamination.

PFAS contamination has closed drinking wells and caused health concerns in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Scientific studies have found “associations” between the chemicals and cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis and other health issues.
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,