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Environmental group says there are 'alarming' levels of chemicals in Delray Beach water

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Aerial shots show the Delray Beach Water treatment plant. (WPEC)

An environmental watchdog group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or "PEER," reports that there is an alarming level of "forever chemicals" found in Delray Beach's drinking water.

The report, published in October, is based on samples collected by the city itself during an internal study.

The report finds over 113.15 parts per trillion (ppt) of forever chemicals, also known as PFAS in the city's drinking water.

PFAS are considered dangerous and some of these chemicals were banned in the United States because they were used for decades to make teflon, crease-resistant food packaging like pizza boxes, and a host of other things. However, the chemicals don't break down over time, which is why they are called "forever chemicals."

RELATED: Delray Beach Utilities Director addresses ongoing concerns about city's drinking water

Though Delray Beach insists that the water is safe to drink because the amount of PFAS is within the EPA's range of what is acceptable, a scientist with PEER tells the CBS12 I-Team that there is a difference between what is legally allowable and what is safe.

"There are thousands of PFAS chemicals that are carcinogenic meaning that they can cause cancer in some individuals and weaken immune systems,"Jerry Phillips, the Florida “PEER” Director told CBS12.

Phillips says that the city only reported two types of chemicals monitored by the EPA, called PFOS and PFOA.

However, Phillips says there are many types of harmful PFAS that were present in Delray Beach's drinking water sample.

"Let me put it this way, if you had drinking water that you knew was contaminated with gasoline products and people said well the level of gasoline in your water is below what’s really harmful, but you also knew that there was kerosene in that water and there was no real advisory yet on kerosene, would you still drink that water?" Phillips asked.

Delray Beach insisted in a social media post that PEER's report was false, even though the reporting was based on Delray Beach's own sampling.

City officials maintain that the drinking water is safe for consumption.



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