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Dark discovery: 'Forever chemicals' linked to cancer found in water, breast milk and air

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Star power: Mark Ruffalo stars in the film ‘Dark Waters’, about the cover-up of toxic chemicals. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Star power: Mark Ruffalo stars in the film ‘Dark Waters’, about the cover-up of toxic chemicals. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Star power: Mark Ruffalo stars in the film ‘Dark Waters’, about the cover-up of toxic chemicals. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

The story of how the toxicity of so-called 'forever chemicals' was kept secret for decades while communities in the US were poisoned is dramatised in the Mark Ruffalo film 'Dark Waters'.

But the sequel is already being played out because the chemicals, collectively termed PFAS, are not just ever-lasting - they are everywhere. Scientists from NUI Galway have recently found them in breast milk, tap water, bottled water, and air and dust from inside classrooms, homes, offices and cars.

Where exactly they came from is hard to pinpoint because PFAS - used to make products waterproof, flame-retardant, grease-proof, stain-resistant and non-stick - are widespread.