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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 1, 2016 and Island Ad-Vantages, September 1, 2016 and The Weekly Packet, September 1, 2016
MERI lecture to focus on toxic Teflon chemicals in U.S. drinking water

A new Harvard study shows how the drinking water of six million Americans, and likely many more, is contaminated with highly fluorinated chemicals associated with serious health problems, according to a news release.

The chemicals, known as “PFCs,” are used as stain and water repellents in everyday products such as non-stick cookware and fast food wrapping. Two PFCs, PFOA, the key ingredient in DuPont’s Teflon, and PFOS, 3M’s Scotchguard chemical, are also used in firefighting foams at military sites and airports and have caused contamination of groundwater across the country.

Award-winning investigative reporter Sharon Lerner, who writes about chemicals, health and environment for The Intercept, was one of the first journalists to investigate how these chemicals wound up in drinking water and warn the public about the health hazards they pose to communities. The Intercept guarantees editorial independence in the pursuit of stories their reporters believe in.

Lerner’s presentation, “PFOA: How It Got Into U.S. Drinking Water and Waterways Around The World,” is part of this year’s lecture series Driving Change To Save the Planet, at the Marine & Environmental Research Institute on Wednesday, September 7. These lectures are free and open to the public at the MERI Center For Environmental Studies, 55 Main Street in Blue Hill. The 6 p.m. talk is preceded by a reception for the speaker at 5.30 p.m. As seating is limited, please arrive early. For more information, call 374-2135 or email

Also, this week, Dr. Shaw is leading a focus group of international scientists over two days to address the global problem of PFC contamination at the Dioxin 2016 Symposium in Italy ( Her Summary of new findings will be available on the MERI website (