EPA Says Plating Shops Dump Chemicals

CHICAGO, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Metal plating shops are dumping high levels of cancer-causing chemicals into sewers in Chicago and Cleveland, federal regulators said.

The dumping of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, likely is happening in dozens of other cities too, a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

The EPA has restricted the use of PFCs in stain-resistant products, such as Scotchgard and Teflon, but the metal plating industry received an exemption in 2007. The industry uses PFCs to suppress fumes during the plating of chrome bumpers, wheels and other parts.

PFCs wash unfiltered through sewage treatment systems into lakes, streams and drinking water, the EPA said.

One Chicago-area plating shop was flushing PFCs into sewers at concentrations of 12,214 parts per trillion when water piped into the factory had just 2.5 parts per trillion, the EPA said. A plating shop tested in Cleveland was flushing PFCs at 54,000 parts per trillion.

The findings could lead to new rules curbing the use of PFCs in plating shops, EPA scientist Kim Harris told the Chicago Tribune in a story published Monday.

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