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Midtown mother advocates in D.C. as first national "forever chemicals" drinking water standard is set

“For her unfortunately it was a fast killer."
Posted at 11:07 PM, Apr 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-15 02:07:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As Linda Shosie flipped through pictures of her daughter Tiana Shosie in an album, she was reminded of memories she had when she was alive.

“Just so many good photos, good memories…” Shosie said. “She loved her daughter so much.”

Tiana was only 19 years old when she died in 2007 after being diagnosed with lupus and kidney nephritis in 2003. Linda Shosie said it was because she was exposed to PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”, and the harmful chemical TCE on the South Side, where they lived at the time.

“For her unfortunately it was a fast killer,” she said. “So when I brought that up to the doctor, he said it could be.”

Officials did find TCE in water on the south side. Tiana’s autopsy doesn’t have chemicals listed as her cause of death, but Shosie did show KGUN9’s Andrew Christiansen a document from a family member with similar kidney issues. That document shows the doctor stating those issues could be from the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency says PFAS can cause certain cancers, and liver and heart problems.

After Tiana’s death, Linda created the Environmental Justice Task Force. She’s been meeting with officials in Washington D.C. from the Biden Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema.

Earlier this week the Biden Administration announced a billion extra dollars to protect about 100 million people from being exposed to PFAS.

That’s why the EPA says they are establishing legally enforceable levels for a lot of PFAS that are known to be in drinking water.

The EPA says that at least over 3,900 of the 66 thousand public drinking water systems that are going to be under these new rules are going to have to take action to lower PFAS. They say this is going to prevent premature deaths and illnesses.

However, Tucson Water said PFAS aren’t in our water.

Recently Congressman Juan Ciscomani announced that he helped the City of Tucson get over 2 million dollars from the federal government to keep PFAS out of our groundwater

Shosie said the Biden Administration’s new rules are going to help.

“It’s going to protect their health and their safety. It’s going to save lives. It’s going to provide clean water to millions of Americans,” she said.

However, she feels like there is more work to be done for other chemicals.

“Support the designation of PFOA, PFOS as hazardous substances,” she encouraged lawmakers.

So far the EPA has only set enforceable maximum contaminant levels for those chemicals, but there is a proposal to label them as hazardous substances.

Until that happens, Shosie said she is going to continue fighting, and will continue fighting until all harmful chemicals are out of the water people use.

“I’m going to do whatever I can in my power to protect those children, and the children that… generations of children that are coming after us,” Shosie said.

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.