The 21st Show

Synthetic Chemicals Found in Over 8 Million Illinoisans’ Drinking Water


"water" by nicdalic/Flickr

Synthetic chemicals are pervasive in our everyday lives. They’re in many of the products we use like fast food wrappers, cleaning products and personal care items. Even when we’re done with those things, the chemicals live on, and the impacts of that are far-reaching. A Chicago Tribune investigation earlier this year found more than 8 million people in Illinois get their drinking water utilities where at least one forever chemical has been detected serving more than eight million people across the state. That’s six out of every 10 Illinoisans. 

The 21st spoke to a panel of guests to hear more about the study and learn about the impacts of emerging contaminants.


John Scott 
Senior chemist with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Sonya Lunder 
Sierra Club's Senior Toxics Advisor for the Clean Water, Toxic Chemicals, and Climate Resilience Program

Michael Hawthorne
Investigative Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Melanie Benesh 
Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group