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Vermont Town Copes With Water Contamination

Brian Phillips, an environmental scientist, collects water in North Bennnigton for testing. Last week, five wells in North Bennington near the former Chemfab factory tested positive for the suspected carcinogen, PFOA.
HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / VPR
Brian Phillips, an environmental scientist, collects water in North Bennnigton for testing. Last week, five wells in North Bennington near the former Chemfab factory tested positive for the suspected carcinogen, PFOA. HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / VPR

Environmental and health officials in Vermont have been learning a lot about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8 and perfluorooctanoate. The suspected carcinogen has been found in more than 80 private wells near a former factory in North Bennington that used the chemical to apply Teflon to fabric.

Just a month ago, Vermont didn’t even have a safe exposure limit because nobody knew it might pose a risk. Now Vermont officials are trying to educate the public, and themselves, and they’re beginning to extend their sight beyond North Bennington to see if the contaminant is affecting other water supplies around the state.

Howard Weiss-Tisman of Here & Now contributor Vermont Public Radio has this report.

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