(USNewsMag.com) – The Biden administration plans to regulate forever-chemicals or PFAS, (perfluorinated as well as polyfluorinated substances), which are found in drinking water by setting a national standard, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The regulation would allow the public water systems to be tested by the Environmental Protection Agency for six PFAS chemicals.
The regulation would require that the levels for the common PFAS chemical compounds of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS and PFOA) to be measured four parts per trillion or less.
Four more PFAS chemical compounds would be considered mixtures under the proposed regulations. The combined levels of the substances would be limited. The public would be required to be notified of levels above the requirements. Officials would need to work to reduce the levels found in contaminated water.
If prolonged exposure to PFAS occurs, the chemicals may cause various health issues including cancer, liver disease as well as other ailments. PFAS, commonly found in rainwater, groundwater, drinking water and wastewater, are often referred to as forever chemicals as they do not naturally break down. The chemicals, first developed in the 1940s by 3M, were used on many household items such as non-stick pans. They were also used in such items as fertilizer and fire extinguisher foam, which then seeped into the water.
Until 2016 the EPA had not established any safe limit for PFAS. The limit in 2016 was to avoid short-term exposure to water with 400 parts per trillion or more. Short-term exposure was considered 30 days for 24 hours per day. During the summer of 2016, the guidelines were revised to a 70 parts per trillion limit.
The EPA is accepting comments on the proposal on its public docket at www.regulations.gov.
In 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $10 billion in funds in order to address emerging contaminants, which includes PFAS.
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