MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Toxins known as PFAS are man made chemicals that can lead to negative health effects. A recent study by the Environmental Working Group shows that the chemical is found in drinking water in several major U.S. cities, affecting millions of people.
However, according to The Daily Mail, out of the different cities tested for contamination, Meridian is the only city that had no signs of PFAS in the water.
Public Works Director Hugh Smith said the absence of the harmful chemicals is a result of how Meridian's water is distributed.
"One of the differences between Meridian and those other cities is we use groundwater,” said Smith. “PFAS deals with a toxin that's basically in the environment."
Before the study, zero agencies had previously reported a PFAS contamination in over half of the cities that were found to have unsafe water. Brunswick County, North Carolina, had the highest level of PFAS with Miami, Florida, following close behind.
"Most of those cities use drinking water that is exposed to the atmosphere,” said Smith.
Smith says Meridian's water system has continuously improved over the years. Meridian resident Mary Johnson said she's proud to live in a city where she doesn't have to worry about what's floating inside of her water.
"It’s really great because who wants to turn on their water and you're cooking and then you see something coming out?” said Johnson. “It's critical, it’s what makes our community what it is, without a safe abundant supply of drinking water, what do you have?" said Smith.
44 samples were collected from 31 states. The study took place from May 2019 to December 2019.