US EPA First Time Proposes to Limit ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water

Water dropInternationalIndiaAfricaThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has advocated nationwide standards for a number of chemical pollutants related to PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Scientific studies have shown that these substances pose a health hazard.EPA’s proposed standards would cover six PFASs that contaminate drinking water in the US. Prior to that, individual states had already imposed restrictions on the relevant particles. However, this is the first time the EPA is proposing a nationwide regulation. The list would include:perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS)hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commonly known as GenX compounds).For PFOC and PFOS, the agency set the maximum allowable concentration at 4 particles per trillion water particles. For the other substances, the EPA proposed limits based on a hazard index, which is calculated from the cumulative effects of the chemicals.

"This is a huge deal, in terms of protecting public health, but also in terms of what it’s going to take to accomplish," says Michelle Crimi, an environmental engineer at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.

EPA additionally propose:Monitor for these PFAS by implementing particular requirements for its levels. They are based on EPA’s longstanding general principles that the frequency of monitoring depends on previous results.Notify the public of the levels of these PFAS. Managers of public water systems would be required to inform the public if PFAS levels are found to exceed those required by the proposed regulatory standards.Reduce the levels of these PFAS in drinking water if they exceed the proposed standards. Water utility managers will be required to take action to reduce PFAS levels in drinking water if those are exceeded under proposed regulatory standardsThe agency said it expects final approval of the regulations by the end of the year, adding that if fully implemented, the rule would prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of PFAS-related illnesses.”For facilities large and small, adding PFAS filtration will have to be weighed against other priorities, such as replacing lead pipes,” says Chris Moody, a regulatory analyst with the American Water Works Association (AWWA).The EPA’s own estimate is that adopting the reforms and implementing them would cost about $772 million a year. But a study commissioned by the AWWA suggests the cost could be about $2.9 billion a year. The EPA says more than $9 billion is already available thanks to the U.S. Infrastructure Act passed in late 2021, but AWWA estimates the cost over 20 years at $58 billion.The EPA first warned about the presence of PFAS in drinking water in 2001, but has never been able to approve a nationwide limit.US EPA First Time Proposes to Limit 'Forever Chemicals' in Drinking WaterScience & TechScientists Discover Easy Way to Destroy ‘Forever Chemicals’20 August 2022, 06:10 GMTPFAS includes about 14,000 chemicals that are commonly used to protect various consumer products from water, heat and contamination. These chemicals are called “forever” because of the fact that they do not disintegrate naturally. Various studies have linked PFAS to the development of cancer, autoimmune disorders, liver and kidney damage and other serious diagnoses.

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