SAN JUAN ISLAND — Every night, before the Ross family sits down at the dinner table and shares their highs and lows — the best and worst parts of their day — the kids go get a cup of water.
Today, Courtney Ross is afraid that ritual, intended to teach a good habit, could have harmed her four kids’ future.
“She’ll wake up at night and be like, ‘Did we poison them?’” said her husband, Nate Ross.
Samples collected from a well that serves the Ross family and more than 40 other homes in the idyllic Hannah Heights neighborhood showed some of the highest levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, recorded in Washington.
The levels were so high — up to 164 times the level considered safe by the state — the lab conducting the test didn’t initially believe the results.
The human-made chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals,” have been linked to several health disorders, including cancer, and are one of the most pervasive sources of pollution on the planet.