EPA urges to remove PFAS aka ‘Forever Chemicals’ from Tap Water

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Environmental News, Pollution News

Home » Environmental News » EPA urges to remove PFAS aka ‘Forever Chemicals’ from Tap Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently finalized the first-ever national drinking water standards specifically targeting PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.” These substances, which include chemicals like PFOA and PFOS, have been linked to serious health risks such as cancer, liver damage, and developmental issues. The new regulations set enforceable limits for six specific PFAS compounds in public water systems. For instance, PFOA and PFOS have been capped at 4 parts per trillion, aiming to reduce the exposure to these toxic substances significantly.​

PFAS have been widely used in various consumer and industrial products since the 1940s due to their oil-repelling and heat-resistant properties. However, their slow breakdown and accumulation in the environment, animals, and humans pose serious health risks. These risks include fertility issues, developmental delays, increased cancer risk, and more.

New Standards for Safer Drinking Water

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the new regulations during a press conference in Fayetteville, N.C. He emphasized that these standards will benefit approximately 100 million people by reducing PFAS exposure.

EPA urges to remove PFAS aka ‘Forever Chemicals’ from Tap Water

The move comes after residents discovered PFAS contamination in the Cape Fear River, a water source serving a million people. Regan stressed the importance of ensuring safe tap water for all Americans.

The regulation targets five individual PFAS chemicals and their combinations. Its initial focus is on those backed by comprehensive data. The EPA plans to expand these regulations to cover the broader class of PFAS chemicals, numbering nearly 15,000, as more information becomes available.

Also Read: What Causes Water Pollution?

Implementation and Compliance

Under the new rule, about 6% to 10% of the nation’s public water systems will likely need to take action to meet the standards. Public water facilities have until 2027 to conduct initial monitoring and report contamination levels to the public.

If PFAS levels exceed the set limits, these systems must implement solutions to reduce contamination by 2029. Non-compliant water systems will face enforcement actions, although the EPA intends to provide technical assistance to ensure compliance.

President Joe Biden’s administration is allocating almost $1 billion in funding to support states, territories, and communities in testing and treating PFAS contamination, underscoring a broader $9 billion commitment over five years to tackle PFAS and other pollutants.

Also Read: Different Types Of Water Pollution

The Path Forward

Environmental advocates and scientists have applauded the EPA’s initiative, recognizing the urgent need to address PFAS pollution comprehensively. The move aligns with efforts in other countries like Canada and the European Union. However, challenges still persist globally in enforcing these limits.

The push to control PFAS at the source through stricter industrial regulations and monitoring is gaining traction. States like Michigan have demonstrated success in curbing PFAS contamination through targeted regulations on industrial releases.

Nevertheless, experts emphasize the need for caution in chemical usage. They advocate for a more sustainable and protective approach to safeguarding water resources and public health.

This decisive action represents a critical step toward safeguarding public health and addressing the broader environmental justice issues associated with PFAS pollution. The agency continues to refine and expand regulations as the focus remains on achieving cleaner, safer tap water for all Americans.

Also Read: USA And Canada Plan To Assess US Water Pollution By British Coal Mines

 

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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