Study reveals health risks from unsafe drinking water in U.S. prisons

In recent years, concerns about the health and human rights of incarcerated individuals have come to light, with a report by Sharon Udasin for The Hill revealing that nearly half of U.S. prisons may be facing exposure to harmful “forever chemicals” in their water supply. This news has raised alarms about the potential for disparities in health outcomes within the justice system, as well as environmental justice issues related to PFAS contamination.

A recent study has discovered that 47% of prison facilities are at risk of PFAS pollution, which affects around 990,000 individuals, including juveniles. Researchers have emphasized the vulnerability of incarcerated individuals to PFAS contamination due to limited options for mitigating exposure. Incarcerated populations are already in poorer health compared to the general population, and this significant number of prisons located in areas likely contaminated with PFAS compounds only heightens their health risks.

Nicholas Shapiro, a senior author and medical anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, compared the incarcerated population to the fifth-largest city in the United States, highlighting the disproportionate impact that marginalized communities face within the prison population. Environmental justice concerns have been emphasized by researchers, who note that PFAS pollution is just one example of how marginalized communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.

The EPA recently proposed drinking water standards for six “forever chemicals,” including PFAS, after years of advocacy by affected communities, scientists, and environmental activists. This underscores the broader threat that PFAS poses to U.S. drinking water and highlights the urgent need for action to protect public health from these harmful chemicals.

In conclusion, it is crucial to address this issue urgently and ensure that all individuals have access to safe drinking water regardless of their socio-economic status or where they live.

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at, I craft engaging and informative articles that aim to captivate readers and provide them with valuable insights. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, I thoroughly enjoy delving into diverse topics, conducting research, and producing compelling content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news pieces to in-depth features, I strive to deliver content that is both accurate and engaging, constantly seeking to bring fresh perspectives to our readers. Collaborating with a talented team of editors and journalists, I am committed to maintaining the high standards of journalism upheld by our publication.

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