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Historic Regulations on “Forever Chemicals” in Drinking Water Are Introduced by the EPA

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made history by releasing the first-ever national regulations that are intended to restrict the amount of specific per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that can be found in drinking water. These substances, sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals,” are well-known for their tenacity and pervasiveness in the environment.

The EPA’s regulation recognizes that there is no acceptable level of exposure to six different types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and requires public water utilities nationwide to test for them. About 100 million individuals are anticipated to have much less exposure to PFAS as a result of the action, averting thousands of illnesses and fatalities associated with these dangerous substances.

The urgent need for action was underscored by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, who said, “Drinking water contaminated with PFAS has plagued communities across this country for too long.”

The EPA has given states and territories $1 billion to help public water utility businesses comply with the new standards. This funding is intended to promote PFAS testing and treatment at public water systems. It is a portion of a larger $9 billion investment from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Opponents contend that more extensive action is required to address the larger class of PFAS compounds, even though the EPA’s regulations only target a particular subset of PFAS chemicals. However, according to EPA calculations, the advantages of the new regulations exceed the costs.

Even while industry stakeholders have long been aware of the risks posed by PFAS, regulation measures have encountered resistance. However, the EPA’s action is a big step in the right direction toward protecting the environment and human health from the negative effects of PFAS pollution.

Options for people worried about PFAS exposure include getting details about testing procedures from water utilities or carrying out independent testing through accredited labs. For residential water sources, other filtering technologies are also available. There are other initiatives in place to monitor the level of PFAS in consumer goods.

With this declaration, the EPA has demonstrated its commitment to safeguarding the environment and public health while tackling the widespread threat posed by PFAS contamination in drinking water.

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