Safe Drinking Water is a Basic Human Right | Opinions

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Drinking water is a fundamental human right, it is a principle that recognizes that it is essential to the life of every person. It was recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly on July 28, 2010. Lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has a negative impact. devastating effect on the health, dignity and prosperity of billions of people. , and has important consequences for the realization of other human rights (United Nations, 2021). Turning on the tap at home for a glass of water shouldn’t worry anyone. But unfortunately, this is the case for millions of American citizens and thousands of Alaskans. It is very disappointing that our legislation is taking so long to provide serious action to protect Alaska’s drinking water and, therefore, the public health and welfare of Alaska from the dangers posed by PFAS. . Currently, in the United States, there are 94 current policies in 31 states and 39 policies adopted in 15 states to reduce or eliminate PFAS. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that PFAS is linked to serious health problems such as cancer, hormonal disturbances, immune suppression, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive issues. Scientists are concerned about how exposure to PFAS and other toxic chemicals may worsen the effects of Covid-19. PFAS are also known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily in the environment. Almost all Americans have PFAS in their body. They are found in the blood, breast milk and even the umbilical cord blood of newborns. A recent study found 60 tonnes of PFAS in the Arctic Ocean. As a public health professional, I urge the Alaska legislature to adopt health-protective drinking water standards for the entire class of PFAS chemicals by supporting SB 121. That would simply be to provide drinking water to contaminated communities. It would be wise to ban the use of all PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams, food packaging, textiles, and other non-essential products and to hold manufacturers financially responsible for cleaning up PFAS pollution and damage caused. ‘she caused to communities. In addition, it should ensure that contaminated communities have access to local food testing, blood serum testing; health care and medical surveillance to detect the first signs of PFAS-related illnesses. In addition, to ensure that the disposal of PFAS does not further contaminate already affected communities and to prevent incineration of PFAS contaminated soils and fire extinguishing foams. Finally, legislation should include the establishment of health-protecting sanitation standards for soil and water at contaminated sites and to require remediation technologies that remove and destroy PFAS contamination. Please support SB 121 to ensure the protection of Alaskans now and future generations. Remember that water is life.

Dr Samarys Seguinot-Medina resides in Anchorage and is an environmental and public health scientist.



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