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Montana DEQ discovers 'forever chemicals' in 3 bodies of water in Bozeman

“One potential impact is fish consumption,” said Ebert.
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Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 19, 2022

BOZEMAN — Hundreds of everyday products are made up of what the Montana DEQ calls ‘Forever Chemicals’. They’ve been found in several bodies of water in Bozeman.

Chris Morin says he’s been fishing his whole life. Today, he was out with some friends fishing the East Gallatin River.

“I think this area has probably been affected by a runoff for decades,” said Morin.

He was shocked to find out that the Montana DEQ found harmful contaminants in the water.

“Harmful to what?” said Morin.

Abby Ebert, a water quality specialist with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said ‘forever chemicals', known as PFAS are still being studied. However, they do know this…

“Exposure to certain PFAS can lead to health problems including changes in the liver, increased cardiovascular levels, cholesterol issues, reproductive issues in women, developmental effects in children, and increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer,” said Ebert.

Ebert says PFAS stands for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. They’re called ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t easily break down. The chemicals were found in the East Gallatin River, Mandeville Creek by Bozeman High School, and at Thompson Creek North of Belgrade.

Ebert said PFAS that show up in our environment can be traced back to as early as the 1940s.

“They have been used in multiple consumer households and industrial products like cookware, food packaging, stain repellents, waterproof clothing, and firefighting foams,” said Ebert.

Ebert says now that the DEQ has identified PFAS in our environment and they’re studying health risks.

“One potential impact is fish consumption,” said Ebert.

By monitoring fish tissue, the DEQ will be able to better understand the impact on human health.

Chris Morin says this won’t stop him from doing what he loves to do.

“It’s not going to stop me from fishing here or any other creeks,” said Morin. “I think it’s important to recognize what the solutions are especially in a state like Montana. We want to keep it beautiful.”

The Montana DEQ says currently no drinking water or public water supplies are affected by PFAS.