Apr 21, 2024

​EPA issues new drinking water standard for PFAS

Earlier this month the EPA enacted it's first new federal drinking water standard in over 20 years for PFAS.

This new standard will require public water utilities to test for 6 specific PFAS chemicals

Here's a table from the EPA Fact Sheet on this new regulation.

As you can see from the table, the EPA has set legally enforceable limits for 5 PFAS chemicals, and for a hazard limit for a combination 2 or more of 4 of those. Hazard indexes are actually great, because it takes into account concurrent exposure. You can read more what a hazard index here.

The EPA has set aside $1.5 billion a year to help states comply with this standard, and while that might seem like a lot to spend on this one thing, compared to the benefits.

In calculating the quantifiable benefits, the EPA wasn't able to put a number on benefits related to developmental, cardiovascular, liver, immune, endocrine, metabolic, reproductive, musculoskeletal, and carcinogenic effects, which means that the benefits will likely dwarf that $1.5 billion price tag.

A little MORE good news...
April 19th, the EPA designated two of the most common PFAS chemicals (PFOA & PFOS) as hazardous substances under the federal Superfund law.

Both of these chemicals were phased out of use in the early 2000s, but because they are so persistent, they are still widespread.

A designation as a "hazardous substance" means that the EPA can add contaminated sites to the Superfund site list, and earmark funds for cleanup. One of the core aspects of the Superfund law is the "polluter pays" principle - the EPA can require companies to pay for cleanup.

You can read more about what this designation means here.