EPA warns that even tiny amounts of chemicals found in drinking water pose risks – NPR
The Environmental Protection Agency is warning that two nonstick and stain-resistant compounds found in drinking water pose health risks even at levels below the government’s ability to detect them. The compounds are part of a larger cluster of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.
Several states have set drinking water limits to address PFAS contamination that are far tougher than the federal guidance. PFAS are associated with serious health conditions, including cancer and reduced birth weight.
The EPA revised its guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are used in nonstick frying pans, water-repellent sports gear, stain-resistant rugs, cosmetics and countless other consumer products. The new guidelines consider lifetime exposure to the chemicals, the EPA said.
The EPA said it expects to propose national drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS later this year, and that it is issuing final health advisories for two chemicals that are considered replacements for PFOA and PFOS.
Environmental and public health groups hailed the EPA’s action as a good first step towards reducing exposures to PFAS chemicals. The EPA estimates that more than 200 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with PFAS chemicals.
The American Chemistry Council said it supports strong, science-based regulation of chemicals, including PFAS substances, but could not immediately be reached for comment.
For more updates on this story, consider the following news outlets listed below.
- EPA warns that even tiny amounts of chemicals found in drinking water pose risks NPR
- EPA warns toxic ‘forever chemicals’ more dangerous than once thought The Washington Post
- EPA issues health advisory for “forever chemicals” in drinking water Axios
- EPA: Forever chemicals pose risk at levels near zero; all Madison wells exceed guidelines Madison.com
- EPA lowers safety level for ‘forever chemicals,’ weighs regulating them in groups The Hill