VIDEO: Biden Administration Sets First-Ever Limits on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water

 
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WATCH: EPA Administrator Michael Regan was in Fayetteville this week as the Biden administration finalized strict limits on certain so-called “forever chemicals” in drinking water that will require utilities to reduce them to the lowest level they can be reliably measured. Officials say this will reduce exposure for 100 million people and help prevent thousands of illnesses, including cancers. The rule is the first national drinking water limit on toxic PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are widespread and long lasting in the environment. The chemicals are widespread in the North Carolina water supply. Regan, a NC native, says the rule is the most important action the EPA has ever taken on PFAS. PFAS chemicals are hazardous because they don’t degrade in the environment and are linked to health issues such as low birth weight and liver disease, along with certain cancers. The EPA estimates the rule will cost about $1.5 billion to implement each year, but doing so will prevent nearly 10,000 deaths over decades and significantly reduce serious illnesses. Over the last year, EPA has periodically released batches of utility test results for PFAS in drinking water. Roughly 16% of utilities found at least one of the two strictly limited PFAS chemicals at or above the new limits. These utilities serve tens of millions of people. The Biden administration, however, expects about 6-10% of water systems to exceed the new limits. Water providers will generally have three years to do testing. If those test exceed the limits, they’ll have two more years to install treatment systems, according to EPA officials.

By Billy Ball

April 22, 2024

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cardinal & Pine (@cardinalandpine)

WATCH: EPA Administrator Michael Regan was in Fayetteville this week as the Biden administration finalized strict limits on certain so-called “forever chemicals” in drinking water that will require utilities to reduce them to the lowest level they can be reliably measured. Officials say this will reduce exposure for 100 million people and help prevent thousands of illnesses, including cancers.

The rule is the first national drinking water limit on toxic PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are widespread and long lasting in the environment. The chemicals are widespread in the North Carolina water supply. Regan, a NC native, says the rule is the most important action the EPA has ever taken on PFAS.

PFAS chemicals are hazardous because they don’t degrade in the environment and are linked to health issues such as low birth weight and liver disease, along with certain cancers. The EPA estimates the rule will cost about $1.5 billion to implement each year, but doing so will prevent nearly 10,000 deaths over decades and significantly reduce serious illnesses.

Over the last year, EPA has periodically released batches of utility test results for PFAS in drinking water. Roughly 16% of utilities found at least one of the two strictly limited PFAS chemicals at or above the new limits. These utilities serve tens of millions of people. The Biden administration, however, expects about 6-10% of water systems to exceed the new limits.

Water providers will generally have three years to do testing. If those test exceed the limits, they’ll have two more years to install treatment systems, according to EPA officials.

Author

  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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