EPA sets limitations on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water EPA sets limitations on 'Forever Chemicals' in Drinking Water

Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News/Associated Press) — On Wednesday, the Biden administration set in place the first ever federal limitations on “forever chemicals” in drinking water. This rule marks the first national drinking water limit specifically targeting toxic PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.)

These limits will require water providers to reduce these chemicals to the lowest measurable levels. This action will decrease exposure for approximately 100 million people and prevent thousands of illnesses, including cancers, officials say. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan says the rule is the most important action the EPA has ever taken on PFAS.

“The result is a comprehensive and life-changing rule, one that will improve the health and vitality of so many communities across our country,” said Regan.

While health advocates commend the EPA for maintaining the tough limits proposed last year, water providers fear customers will end up paying more for water. The American Water Works Association, an industry group, says it supports the development of PFAS limits in drinking water, but argues the EPA’s rule has big problems.

The agency underestimated its high cost, which can’t be justified for communities with low levels of PFAS, and it’ll raise customer water bills, the association said. Plus, there aren’t enough experts and workers, and supplies of filtration material are limited.

The EPA’s efforts aim to usher in a new era of safer tap water for millions of consumers, aligning with the Biden administration’s priorities. Additionally, the agency has proposed measures to compel utilities to remove hazardous lead pipes.

Legal challenges to the new rules from PFA manufacturers are likely to follow.


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