Report needs to be released

The truth never hurt anyone, even if it was the cause of much distress. Knowing about threats to our safety and health is crucial to doing something about them, after all.

Why, then, is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sitting on a report regarding what levels of certain chemicals are safe in drinking water?

The chemicals in question, referenced by many as PFAS, are per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. For many years, they were used in production of items ranging from non-stick cookware to stain-resistant fabrics and carpeting. Deposits of PFAS have been found in the soil in some areas of West Virginia and Ohio.

Reportedly, a DHHS study has indicated the level of PFAS in drinking water that may be dangerous to health is lower than had been thought. But the department, under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency, has not released the report.

Twelve senators, including both from West Virginia and both from Ohio, have sent a letter to the EPA and the DHHS demanding the study be released.

It should be made public. As the senators pointed out in their letter, “we need to ensure that all parties are working off the most up-to-date information to maintain a safe water supply.”

The DHHS report was finalized in January. If EPA and/or DHHS officials have questions about its validity, they should be asking them publicly — but they also should be releasing the report. Doing otherwise, as the senators emphasized, “is unacceptable.”