MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Crews in Shakopee are looking for a dangerous contaminant that you can’t see with the naked eye.

It has no smell or taste, but can cause serious health issues if we ingest too much of it.

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The Minnesota Department of Health is looking for PFAS in our drinking water. PFAS, otherwise known as the “forever chemicals,” are found in everything from carpets to clothing.

“Our goal overall is to provide safe drinking water to Minnesotans and to be less reactive in our response. You know, waiting until we think there might be a problem,” said MDH environmental research scientist Jane de Lambert.

They’re testing public drinking water at about 100 different sites across the state this summer. Most are municipal sites but some are smaller like a mobile home community in Shakopee, or anywhere where more than 25 people are drinking the water.

(credit: CBS)

“This has been a long time coming. This is something that we’ve been working towards,” said de Lambert.

While the plan is to eventually test most of the public drinking water across the state, MDH worked with the MPCA to identify areas with a higher risk of contamination as a starting point.

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“They sample for PFAS across the state at different sites like closed landfills, some spray irrigation sights,” said de Lambert.

And so far, the results are reassuring.

“At this point, we haven’t gotten any results that are above any health-based guidance values,” said de Lambert.

The work will continue to learn more about where these ominous contaminants are lurking, as we continue this battle against an invisible opponent.

“PFAS are emerging contaminants [and] we’re still learning a lot about them,” said de Lambert. “It’s important to know what’s in your drinking water.”

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Later this fall, MDH will share their findings on a public map so people can see if their area was tested and what the results were.

Erin Hassanzadeh