SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is continuing its study of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by testing how much of it is in bodies of water across the state.

The chemicals, found in food packaging, water, clothes and more, are believed to cause some types of cancers, hormonal issues, problems for pregnant women, immune system issues and more.

In a media briefing Wednesday, representatives for the agency discussed their work to better understand how prevalent – and severe – the chemicals are in the state..

“We’re just looking at the many ways these chemicals can find their way into our environment and ultimately lead to exposure for the citizens of South Carolina,” Myra Reece, DHEC Environmental Affairs Director, said.

The agency began sampling water from streams, rivers and lakes statewide in July 2022. To check out a map of where agents are testing, click here. In certain locations, scientists are also testing for PFAS in freshwater fish, oysters and blue crabs.

“This is an issue that has taken many, many years to result in the issue that we have before us,” Reece said. “It’s going to be multidimensional as far as the environmental protection actions that need to be done at the federal level and state level.”